UN raises alarm over hunger in 9 African countries, others

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Mr. Antonio Guterres
Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General

By Prudence Arobani

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have raised an alarm over the level of hunger in 16 countries of the world following the outbreak of conflicts and wars.

Report by the two UN agencies revealed that the countries are in urgent need of food supply as food insecurity or lack of access to enough food has been highlighted as the extremely critical importance of humanitarian support for the affected countries.

The agencies listed the countries monitored to include Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

The others are Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen and they are classified as most affected by acute hunger.

Conflict is a common factor undermining food security in all 16 countries covered in the report, which formed part of the bi-annual briefings of the UN Security Council on food security.

According to the report, the intensification of conflicts is a key reason behind the recent resurgence of world hunger levels, following decades of steady declines.

Among them, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, CAR, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Somalia have a quarter or more of the population facing crisis or emergency levels of hunger.

In Yemen, 60 per cent of the population, or 17 million people, are affected by acute hunger.

These figures are 45 per cent, or 4.8 million, in South Sudan, 33 per cent, or 6.5 million, in Syria, and 33 per cent, or 1.9 million, in Lebanon, a country hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees.

But these are far from being the only countries flagged as cause for concern.

In the DRC, where serious food security concerns have been overshadowed by crises the situation is rapidly deteriorating, the report warns.

The report stated that 11 per cent of the population is now in the crisis phase or above, adding up to 7.7 million people who are coping with acute hunger.

In Sudan, 3.8 million people are in the crisis phase or above, in Iraq, that figure is 3.2 million. while in the Lake Chad basin, the number is 2.9 million people.

In Burundi and Haiti, it is 1.8 and 1.3 million, respectively.

According to data, the number of hungry people worldwide rose to 815 million people in 2016, up from 777 million the year before.

The report stated that majority of the hungry, or 489 million people, live in countries wrecked by conflict. 

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