A few days before a new G7 Summit is held in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday urged the members of that intergovernmental political forum to maintain the commitment they showed last year to food security.
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The call to the G7 comes at a time when various crises, such as those affecting Sudan, Haiti and the Sahel, are causing a greater number of hungry people.
Specifically, the agency estimated the number of people currently suffering from food shortages at around 345 million, a figure that represents an increase of almost 200 million since the beginning of 2020. Of these, 43 million are one step away from famine.
This dramatic situation adds to the recent cuts in food rations that the Program was forced to apply in its missions in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Palestine, where the needs exceed the funds available. The next operations affected by the reductions would be Somalia and Chad, warns the Program.
The executive director of the UN agency, Cindy McCain, recalled that the leadership of the G7 during 2022 saved many lives.
“Millions of people received the help they needed and countries like Somalia were able to get out of the famine situation. Unfortunately, the world food crisis has not disappeared. And situations like those in Sudan and Haiti add fuel to the fire,” he said.
Sudan, Haiti and the Sahel will generate millions of hungry
Fighting in Sudan has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and left millions starving. The agency estimates that the number of people who will experience food insecurity in the coming months will increase by between 2 and 2.5 million, bringing the total in the country to a record 19 million.
Insecurity, violence and increasing economic problems are aggravating the food insecurity situation of Haitians. It is estimated that some 4.9 million people, about 45% of the population, suffer from acute hunger.
In the African region of the Sahel, the new outbreaks of violence in countries like Burkina Faso cause situations of hunger among people who are fleeing or whose daily lives have been altered by conflicts.
The Program also called for political support for other actions that would help alleviate the crisis, such as the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
“We need to increase aid, especially when it comes to making our food systems stronger,” McCain said. “If we can, they won’t need emergency help the next time there’s a drought or a flood.”
By way of example, Niger last year faced its worst food crisis in a decade. Some of the most affected areas were those where WFP had reinforcement programmes. As a result, the vast majority – 80% of the villages – did not need humanitarian aid.
During last year’s G7 Summit in Germany, the leaders of the seven most advanced economies vowed to “spare no effort to increase global food and nutrition security” and protect the most vulnerable.
The next meeting of the G7 will be held in the Japanese city of Hiroshima from May 19 to 21.