Two U.N. agencies for food issued warnings Monday about multiple food crises that could be looming on the planet. These were triggered by climate shocks like drought, and made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, which have pushed fuel and food prices skyrocketing.
Two Rome-based food agencies, the World Food Program (WFP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) provided the grim assessment.
David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, stated that the global food crisis threatens to overwhelm millions of families struggling to make ends meet.
Beasley stated in a statement that "conditions are worse now than they were during the Arab Spring in 2011, and 2007-2008 food crisis, when 48 countries were rocked with political unrest, protests, and riots." He said that the current food crises in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Peru, and Peru were "just the tip" of the iceberg.
The report urges urgent humanitarian action to aid "hunger hotspots", where acute hunger is likely to worsen in the coming months.
U.N. agencies warn that the war in Ukraine, which Russia invaded in February, may have exacerbated already rising energy and food prices.
The joint U.N agencies statement stated that "the effects are expected to become particularly acute where economic instability and spiraling prices combined with drops in food supply due to climate shocks like recurrent droughts, flooding"
East Africa is one of the most critical areas. The United Nations has stated that an "unprecedented drought" is currently affecting Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. South Sudan is facing a fourth consecutive year of severe flooding.
Other alarming climate impacts were also mentioned in the report: more than average rainfall and the risk of flooding in the Sahel. This vast area of Africa is south of the Sahara Desert.
It also mentioned a more severe hurricane season in the Caribbean, and lower-than-average rainfall in Afghanistan. This Asian country has already been suffering multiple seasons of drought, violence, and political turmoil, even after the fall of Taliban rule last year.
Six countries were identified as high-alert hotspots facing severe conditions in the report: Ethiopia, Nigeria (South Sudan), Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen. According to the report, 750,000 people in these countries are at risk of starvation or death. According to the U.N. agencies, this is the largest number of people in Ethiopia's Tigray region since the 2011 Somalia famine.
According to a report by regional health officials and seen by The Associated Press in April, more than 1,900 children aged 5 or less died of malnutrition within the Tigray region. The survey did not include Western Tigray which is controlled by forces from the neighbouring Amhara region.
Monday's U.N. food agency report stated that Congo, Haiti and the Sahel region of Sudan, Syria, and Sudan remain "of very high concern". It also noted that Kenya was added to this list.