Global hunger crises threaten millions of people. Why are world leaders not acting?
The combined effects of climate change, COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine threaten to bring about a global catastrophe that few people are talking about, let alone all world leaders.
In just two years, the number of severely food insecure people has doubled, from 135 million to 276 million, including almost 50 million on the brink of starvation.
Global food and fuel prices are skyrocketing due to the conflict in Ukraine, which, along with Russia, supplies huge amounts of wheat, corn and sunflower oil used to feed people in places like Somalia, Yemen and Lebanon.
But even before Russia invaded Ukraine, it was clear there could be famines this summer.
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A new report, co-authored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Programme, warns that humanitarian action is urgently needed in 20 “hunger hotspots”. These are areas where lives and livelihoods are likely to be put at risk by “a significant deterioration in acute food insecurity in the coming months”.
Hotspots include Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan and Syrian Arab Republic, while Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen are the four countries most at risk.
The Ukraine crisis will likely be cited as the reason world leaders have yet to respond to such warnings with an urgently needed global galvanizing effort – but it shouldn’t be.