UN: record number of people without enough to eat in 2021

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The United Nations said on Wednesday that the number of people not having enough to eat daily hit an all-time high last year and was on the verge of reaching new “appalling” levels as the war in Ukraine affects the world food production.

Nearly 193 million people in 53 countries suffered from acute food insecurity in 2021 due to what the UN has called a “toxic triple combination” of conflict, extreme weather and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. .

The UN said the total number of people without adequate food every day rose by 40 million last year, confirming a “worrying trend” of annual increases over several years.

The figures appeared in the Global Report on the Food Crisis, which is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Program and the European Union.

Food insecurity

Countries with protracted conflicts, including Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, had the most food insecure populations, according to the report.

The report predicts that Somalia will face one of the world’s worst food crises in 2022 due to prolonged drought, rising food prices and ongoing violence. The various factors could push 6 million Somalis into an acute food crisis, according to the UN.

“Today, if more is not done to support rural communities, the scale of the devastation in terms of hunger and loss of livelihoods will be appalling,” the UN said. “Urgent humanitarian action is needed on a large scale to prevent this from happening.”

The war in Ukraine poses additional risks for Somalia and many other African countries that retaliate to Ukraine and Russia for wheat, fertilizers and other food supplies.

The United Nations has previously said the war is helping to drive up the prices of basic commodities such as grains and vegetable oils to record highs, threatening millions of people with hunger and malnutrition.

“When we look at the consequences of what is happening as a result of the war in Ukraine, there are real reasons to worry about how this will amplify the acute food needs that exist in these countries in food crisis” , said Rein Paulsen, director of the Office of Emergencies and Resilience at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The report called for increased investment in agriculture and called for $1.5 billion to help farmers in at-risk regions with the upcoming planting season to stabilize and increase local food production.

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