The world is at risk of yet another year of record hunger as the global food crisis continues to drive yet more people into worsening levels of acute food insecurity, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said in call for urgent action to address the root causes of today’s crisis ahead of World Food Day, on 16 October.
“We are facing an unprecedented global food crisis and all signs suggest we have not yet seen the worst. For the last three years hunger numbers have repeatedly hit new peaks. Let me be clear: things can and will get worse unless there is a large scale and coordinated effort to address the root causes of this crisis. We cannot have another year of record hunger,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
A statement released in Abuja by the National Communications Officer of WFP in Nigeria, Dr Kelechi Onyemaobi, noted that the global food crisis is a confluence of competing crises – caused by climate shocks, conflict, and economic pressures that has continued to push up the number of severely food insecure people all around the world, including in Nigeria.
The WFP noted that 4.4 million people are facing acute food insecurity in Nigeria especially in the conflict-affected States of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe where the UN agency is providing food assistance targeting 1.7 million people in northeast Nigeria.
Building on this year’s theme for World Food Day – “No one left behind” – WFP is calling coordinated effort across governments, financial institutions (IFIs), private sector, and partners to mitigate an even more severe food crisis in 2023. This includes the reinforcement of national economies, social protection systems, and regional and domestic food systems – at speed and at scale.
“As we mark this year’s World Food Day, we must remember the vulnerable families and individuals in northeast Nigeria who are struggling to put food on their table. We must remember over one million malnourished children who need nutritious food to survive – and we must ensure that no one of them is left behind,” said Guy Adoua, WFP Representative and Country Director a.i. in Nigeria.
While northeast Nigeria is in the grips of a dire humanitarian crisis, with devastating levels of hunger and humanitarian needs driven by conflict, displacement and widespread high food prices, climate shocks are increasing in frequency and intensity, leaving those affected no time to recover between disasters and crises.
Since June 2022, floods caused by torrential rains have swept through large swathes of land in 28 of the 36 states – including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The floods have affected 3.48 million people, led to many deaths and destroyed 637,000 hectares of cropland.
In response, WFP is on the ground providing emergency assistance to those hard hit by the floods in Damaturu, Yobe State, which is one of the most flood-affected states in Nigeria. WFP urgently requires a net funding of US$129 million to support its life-saving and life-changing operations in Nigeria over the next five months (October 2022 to February 2023).
While these efforts provide succour to some of the severely vulnerable, it is against a challenging global backdrop in which the number of acutely hungry people continues to increase requiring a concerted global action for peace, economic stability and continued humanitarian support to ensure food security around the world.