People in Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen are experiencing or are projected to experience starvation and death, requiring the most urgent attention, says the Hunger Hotspots Report from the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The UN agencies have highlighted that food insecurity is soaring across 20 countries and regions, or “hunger hotspots”, where conflict, economic shocks, natural hazards, political instability and limited humanitarian access are putting millions of lives at risk.
The report shows that the links between hunger and conflict are complex and far-reaching. Many of the people that WFP supports are fleeing conflict and have been forced to abandon their land, homes and jobs.
These trends are likely to continue in Myanmar, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Sahel, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the northern parts of Ethiopia, Nigeria and Mozambique.
Another worrying trend is the impact of climate extremes. For WFP and FAO, climate change “is no longer a glimpse into the future, but the daily reality for communities around the world.” This can already be seen in Haiti, Eastern Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, and recently in Afghanistan’s western region of Badghis.
At the same time, economic challenges post-pandemic, persist, and will continue to drive food prices higher. Despite a brief decrease in mid-2021, world food prices have been rising since May 2020, with the areas of most concern, being the Near East, North Africa and Central and Eastern Asia.
Humanitarian access constraints and complex security environments, continue to pose a challenge to operations in Ethiopia, Mali, northern Nigeria, Niger and Syria, and are likely to linger in the Central African Republic and Colombia.
The report also highlights the situation in Afghanistan, where projections show a record high of people facing critical levels of food insecurity. There are 22.8 million Afghans facing acute food insecurity. By March, 8.7 million of those are expected to slide into critical levels of food insecurity, more than double the number from the same time last year and a record high for the country.