A total of 258 million people from 58 countries suffered acute food insecurity in 2022 and need urgent help, 65 million more than in 2021. These are the conclusions of the latest world report of the Global Network against Food Crises (GNAFC, for its acronym in English) published today, which warns that the situation will not improve in the coming months and, in addition, the most affected countries have less resilience to face the crises.
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This is the fourth consecutive year in which this alarming figure has increased and it is the highest figure that has been recorded since this study began, in 2016, although its authors clarify that part of the increase is due to the fact that the population analyzed it is wider.
According to the conclusions of the GNAFC, based in Rome, which brings together the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Unicef, the World Food Program (WFP) or the Bank World, among others, the population of seven countries faced starvation or catastrophic levels of acute hunger at some point in 2022. More than half of them were in Somalia (57%), while these extreme circumstances also occurred in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Haiti (for the first time in the country’s history), Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.
The economic resilience of poor countries has declined dramatically in the last three years, and they now face long recovery periods and less ability to cope with future crises
A bleak outlook
La GNAFC subraya que “los conflictos, las crisis económicas nacionales y mundiales y los fenómenos meteorológicos extremos siguen estando cada vez más interrelacionados, alimentándose mutuamente y creando una espiral de efectos negativos sobre la inseguridad alimentaria aguda y la nutrición”.
Más de 250 millones de personas se enfrentan ahora a niveles agudos de hambre, y algunas están al borde de la inanición. Esto es inconcebible
“There are no signs that these factors will abate in 2023: climate change is expected to cause more extreme weather events, global and national economies face a bleak outlook, and conflict and insecurity are likely to persist,” insist on your report.
“We cannot continue to respond to food crises as if they were one-off events. We need more anticipation and that this translates into greater investments”, requested the executive director of FAO, QU Dongyu in the presentation of the report, in which other heads of institutions involved also urged to improve prevention to address the root causes of crises food instead of responding to their effects when they have already occurred.
“Resources are dangerously reduced, although the number of people who need them is increasing. At WFP we are going to have to make painful decisions in the coming months and cut the number of rations we distribute. This is going to be a disaster for the 160 million people who trust us. We have to work together to find a way to get more resources,” asked Cindy Hensley McCain, executive director of the World Food Program.
“It is true that there is also room for hope. In the last two decades there has been a drastic reduction in child malnutrition in the world”, said Catherine Russell, executive director of UNICEF. However, this UN fund has set itself the goal of raising exceptional funds until the end of this year to reach 26 million children and women and prevent, detect and treat severe wasting.
In this regard, Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships (INTPA) stressed that the European Union and its Member States have dedicated almost 18,000 million euros to help countries deal with food insecurity until 2024. “We have accelerated our investments in sustainable solutions to boost local food production and reduce dependence on imports,” said the person in charge.