- The 2022 Global Report on Food Crises said about 180 million people across 40 countries will face inescapable food insecurity, which can also lead to malnutrition, mass hunger and famine
With the on-going Ukraine-Russia war, which has intensified since it began in February, there has been a growing concern leading to food crises in developing countries across the world. Tens of millions of people across the world are at risk of hunger as the four-month-long war has disrupted shipments of grain from Ukraine.
Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world was facing a “catastrophe” because of the growing shortage of food across the globe. “There is a real risk that multiple famines will be declared in 2022,” Guterres said in a video message to officials. “And 2023 could be even worse.” Guterres noted that harvests across Asia, Africa and the Americas will take a hit as farmers around the world struggle to cope with rising fertilizer and energy prices.
The 2022 Global Report on Food Crises said about 180 million people across 40 countries will face inescapable food insecurity, which can also lead to malnutrition, mass hunger and famine. With people still struggling with post-Covid recovery, the governments of these countries having little cash at hand, and the war in Ukraine still ongoing, the global food crisis shows few signs of slowing.
Here’s a list of countries that are currently facing a food shortage
Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia are “hunger hotspots” facing catastrophic conditions, according to the latest report by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
These six countries all have parts of the population facing IPC phase 5 ‘Catastrophe’ or at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions, with up to 750,000 people facing starvation and death. 400,000 of these are in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – the highest number on record in one country since the famine in Somalia in 2011.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the Sahel, the Sudan and Syria remain ‘of very high concern’ with deteriorating critical conditions, as in the previous edition of this report – with Kenya a new entry to the list. Sri Lanka, West African coastal countries (Benin, Cabo Verde and Guinea), Ukraine and Zimbabwe have been added to the list of hotspots countries, joining Angola, Lebanon, Madagascar, and Mozambique which continue to be hunger hotspots – according to the report.
Somalia is one of the countries facing the implications of the war. The country is facing an unprecedented shortage of wheat stemming from the halted exports from Russia and Ukraine, as the export route through the Black sea has been shut down since the war started on February 24. According to the UN, the East African country has an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger resulting from persistent drought. Ukraine, on the other hand, needs to export 22 million grains out of the country, as it needs space to store grain from the next harvest. However, Russia’s blockade of Black Sea ports is halting the exports of corn, barley, rapeseed oil, and wheat.
In Egypt, bread is a staple. A meal without bread is not a real meal, and the country relies on imported wheat to meet more than half of its daily wheat and calorie requirements. Ukraine and Russia provided for 85 percent of the country’s imports in 2020-2021. According to the UN, the East African country has an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger resulting from persistent drought. (AP)
Tunisia is also being ravaged by a financial crisis and struggling to deal with an inflation rate of over 6 percent. Most of its population is meeting their daily needs by relying on subsidised semolina and flour. However, with the global inflation in prices, these products are only available in the black market at costlier rates.
Algeria has completely stopped exports of semolina, pasta and wheat products to prevent depletion of its stocks. The country has some relief through its oil export industry.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the combination of conflict and drought have caused inflation to soar in Ethipia, adding that as of April, the Food Price Index in Ethiopia was up by 43 per cent compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, the prices for vegetable oil and cereals are up by over 89 per cent and 37 per cent year-on-year. According to WFP, 19 months of war in the country have left more than 13 million people in the north requiring humanitarian food assistance, mainly in conflict-affected zones in Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions.
One-third of Sudan’s population, or 15 million people, are facing acute food insecurity, according to a new assessment released by the World Food Programme (WFP) on June 16, 2022. With more than half of the country’s wheat imports stemming from the Black Sea region, the conflict in Ukraine has further driven up food and fuel prices – compounding the situation. According to the release, the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) illustrates that food insecurity exists in all of Sudan’s 18 states and has worsened in 16.
Ever since the Taliban took in August 2021, there has been a food shortage in the country. In addition to the deadly earthquake on 22 June, flash floods have destroyed homes and livelihoods in at least four provinces following
heavy rains on 21 June.
A WFP report said that a total of 18.9 million people in Afghanistan are currently acutely food insecure, according to the May 2022 IPC Analysis. “In Afghanistan, 92 percent of the population faces insufficient food consumption, while 57 percent of households resort to crisis-level coping strategies to get by,” according to WFP’s latest Food
Security Update: Round Nine (May 2022).
The June 2022 report also said that 18.9 million people in Afghanistan– nearly half of the population – are estimated to be acutely food insecure between June-November 2022. “4.7 million children, pregnant and lactating women at risk of acute malnutrition in 2022; 3.9 million children are acutely malnourised.”
Sri Lanka is suffering from its worst economic crisis since it gained independence in 1948, which has left its 22-million-strong population struggling to pay for food, medicine and fuel. Food price inflation is running at 57%, according to government data, and 70% of Sri Lankan households surveyed by UNICEF last month reported cutting back on food consumption. Many families rely on government rice handouts and donations from charities and generous individuals. Unable to find cooking gas, many Sri Lankans are turning to kerosene stoves or cooking over open fires.
Yemen faces the world’s worst humanitarian crisis for the last years of fighting between its government forces and Houthi rebels. Some 19 million people in Yemen are projected to be in need of food assistance in 2022, an increase from the current 17.4 million. Of these, 7.3 million people will be facing emergency levels of hunger. The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced further dramatic cuts to food aid in Yemen, leaving millions of Yemenis already suffering through war unable to get enough food. The WFP said on Sunday that it was forced into the rationing as a result of not receiving enough funding, global economic conditions and the continued knock-on effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
First published in The Indian Express