A new global report on food crises for 2017 by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday sounded the alarm regarding surging levels of acute hunger.
The report stated that some 124 million people in Nigeria and other 50 countries were affected by acute food insecurity during 2017, this represents 11 million more people than the year before.
The report defines acute food insecurity as hunger so severe that it poses an immediate threat to lives or livelihoods.
the report attributed the increase to new or intensified conflict and insecurity in Myanmar, north-east Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Yemen, adding that prolonged drought conditions also resulted in consecutive poor harvests in countries already facing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa.
It finds that food crisis are increasingly determined by complex causes such as conflict, extreme climatic shocks and high prices of staple food often acting at the same time.
The situation revealed by the Global Report highlights the urgent need for simultaneous action to save lives, livelihoods and to address the root causes of food crises, the partners said.
“Conflict continued to be the main driver of acute food insecurity in 18 countries — 15 of them in Africa or the Middle East. It is the primary reason for most of the world’s cases of acute food insecurity, accounting for 60 percent of the global total, or 74 million people.
“Climate disasters — mainly drought — were also major triggers of food crises in 23 countries, two-thirds of them in Africa, and were responsible for pushing some 39 million people into acute food insecurity.
“Conflict, climate disasters and other drivers often contribute to complex crises that have devastating and long lasting consequences on the livelihood of people. Entire communities and more children and women are in need of nutritional support compared to last year, and long lasting solutions are needed if we want to revert this trend,” the report reveals.
It could be recalled that the Global Network against Food Crises launched by the European Union, FAO and WFP at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 is expected to increasingly become the engine behind the humanitarian, development and peace nexus, promoting increased coordination between humanitarian and development agencies.