Starvation haunts globe as 108-million people face food insecurity
Despite international efforts to address food insecurity, around 108 million people in the world were severely food insecure in 2016, a dramatic increase compared with 80 million in 2015, according to a new global report on food crises released in Brussels on Friday.
The report was produced under the joint auspices of the European Union, UN agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and USAID/FEWSNET along with some regional food security institutions.
The report warns that the food insecurity crisis is set to worsen this year with four parts of the developing world, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeast Nigeria, at risk of famine.
|Read also: World 'faces worst humanitarian crisis since 1945'|
The dramatic increase reflects the trouble people have in producing and accessing food due to conflict, record-high food prices in local markets in affected countries and extreme weather conditions such drought and erratic rainfall.
Civil conflict is also the driving factor in nine of the 10 worst humanitarian crises, underscoring the strong linkage between peace and food security, the 2017 Global Report on Food Crises said.
|In the absence of immediate and substantive action not only to save people's lives, but also to pull them back from the brink of famine, the food security situation in these countries will continue to worsen in coming months|
Other countries facing widespread food insecurity this year are Iraq, Syria (including refugees in neighbouring countries) Malawi and Zimbabwe.
"In the absence of immediate and substantive action not only to save people's lives, but also to pull them back from the brink of famine, the food security situation in these countries will continue to worsen in coming months," the report says.
FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said: "We can prevent people dying from famine but if we do not scale up our efforts to save, protect and invest in rural livelihoods, tens of millions will remain severely food insecure."
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, said food insecurity was not just a humanitarian issue.
|Hunger exacerbates crisis, creating ever greater instability and insecurity... What is a food security challenge today becomes tomorrow's security challenge|
"Hunger exacerbates crisis, creating ever greater instability and insecurity," he said. "What is a food security challenge today becomes tomorrow's security challenge.
"It is a race against time – the world must act now to save the lives and livelihoods of the millions at the brink of starvation."