UN warns up to 345 million people marching towards starvation : The Tribune India

UN warns up to 345 million people marching towards starvation

70 million pushed closer to starvation by the war in Ukraine

UN warns up to 345 million people marching towards starvation

Photo for representation. iStock

AP

United Nations, September 16

The UN food chief warned on Thursday that the world is facing “a global emergency of unprecedented magnitude”, with up to 345 million people marching towards starvation—and 70 million pushed closer to starvation by the war in Ukraine.

David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Program, told the UN Security Council that the 345 million people facing acute food insecurity in the 82 countries where the agency operates is 2½ times the number of acutely food insecure people before the covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

He said it is incredibly troubling that 50 million of those people in 45 countries are suffering from very acute malnutrition and are “knocking on famine’s door”.         

“What was a wave of hunger is now a tsunami of hunger,” he said, pointing to rising conflict, the pandemic's economic ripple effects, climate change, rising fuel prices and the war in Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24, Beasley said, soaring food, fuel and fertiliser costs have driven 70 million people closer to starvation.

Despite the agreement in July allowing Ukrainian grain to be shipped from three Black Sea ports that had been blockaded by Russia and continuing efforts to get Russian fertiliser back to global markets, “there is a real and dangerous risk of multiple famines this year”, he said. “And in 2023, the current food price crisis could develop into a food availability crisis if we don't act.”

The Security Council was focusing on conflict-induced food insecurity and the risk of famine in Ethiopia, northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. But Beasley and UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths also warned about the food crisis in Somalia, which they both recently visited, and Griffiths also put Afghanistan high on the list.

“Famine will happen in Somalia,” Griffiths said, and “be sure it won't be the only place either”.   

He cited recent assessments that identified “hundreds of thousands of people facing catastrophic levels of hunger”, meaning they are at the worst “famine” level.

Beasley recalled his warning to the council in April 2020 “that we were then facing famine, starvation of biblical proportions”. He said then the world “stepped up with funding and tremendous response, and we averted catastrophe”. 

#climate change #Environment #Ukraine

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