Global emergency of rising hunger - GulfToday

Global emergency of rising hunger


The world is facing scourge of hunger which is a global emergency of unprecedented magnitude.

David Beasley of UN World Food Programme told the UN Security Council on Thursday that the world is faced with the scourge of hunger after the pandemic, and it is also one of the after-effects of the pandemic, apart from wars in Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, droughts in places like Somalia, and economic crises arising from raging inflation in many countries like Lebanon and in many African countries.

He described the situation as “global emergency of unprecedented magnitude” and said 345 million people all over the world are threatened with hunger, and 70 million people stare at starvation. Beasley delivered a stark message to the world body: “What was a wave of hunger is now a tsunami of hunger.” The Security Council was considering the issue of food crisis in areas in conflict zone. But Beasley and UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said that the arc of hunger spreads wider than the conflict zones in Ethiopia, northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. Griffiths informed: “Famine will happen in Somalia. But sure it won’t be the only place either.” He included Afghanistan in the list of countries, which could fall prey to hunger.

Yemen is most affected by the war in Ukraine because it imports 90 per cent of its food. And the figures of those affected by hunger and malnutrition in Yemen is alarming. According to Beasley, 19 million people in Yemen face food insecurity, that is six out of 10 people. And 160,000 people are on the verge of “catastrophe”, and 538,000 children are malnourished. And this is the situation in one country, where there is an internal civil war, and there is supply crisis that has arisen out of the war in Ukraine. And the World Food Programme cannot provide adequate aid because of budgetary constraints. It hopes to provide aid to 18 million people, but the costs for doing so have risen be 30 per cent to $2.6 billion. And Yemenis in need will get only two-thirds of the ration that they used to get. Unfortunately, the rich countries that promise to contribute fail to do so because world hunger is not on their foreign policy priority list.

The situation in South Sudan and Ethiopia is not very different from Yemen. The crisis of hunger in these two African countries is again a combination of internal civil war and the world economic crisis arising out of the war in Ukraine. In Sudan, 7.7 million people, more than 60 per cent of the population, face acute food insecurity. And the civil war continues rage there.

The UN feels that unless the political conflict ends, the problem of hunger and malnutrition facing the people in this part cannot be solved. Similarly, in Ethiopia, the war in the Tigray is one of causes of the hunger crisis. In Tigray, 13 million people need food to save their lives. The World Food Programme was able to reach the affected people in Tigray because of a political truce. The security conditions are so frail that humanitarian aid cannot be delivered to the people most affected. The situation north-east Nigeria is not very different. About 4.1 million people face food insecurity and 588,000 are in a catastrophic condition. Owing to hostilities, it had become difficult for the UN agencies to deliver aid. The drought in Somalia is the most severe since 2011, and farm animals have been decimated leaving the poor people in the rural areas without any economic means of support, and they are walking hundreds of miles the national capital, Mogadishu, to get food in the refugee camps.

It would be a moral failure of the comity of nations if people are allowed to die of starvation in the third decade of the 21st century.

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