New York (UNA-OIC) – Life-saving aid to families on the brink of famine is being cut off in several countries by fighting and blockades, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Program (WFP) said in a new report issued on Friday.
Of grave concern are 23 ‘hunger hotspots’ which over the next four months are expected to face an acute level of food insecurity due to the combined economic repercussions of COVID-19, the climate crisis and fighting.
“Families that rely on humanitarian assistance to survive are hanging by a thread. When we cannot reach them, that thread is cut, and the consequences are nothing short of catastrophic,” warned WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
“The vast majority of those on the verge are farmers. Alongside food assistance, we must do all we can to help them resume food production themselves,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
“So far, support to agriculture as key means of preventing widespread famine remains largely overlooked by donors. Without such support to agriculture, humanitarian needs will keep skyrocketing,” he added.
The 23 hotspots identified are Afghanistan, Angola, Central Africa Republic, Central Sahel, Chad, Colombia, DR Congo, Ethiopia, El Salvador together with Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone together with Liberia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The report highlights that conflict, climate extremes and economic shocks, often related to the economic fallout of COVID-19, are likely to remain primary drivers of acute food insecurity for the August-November period this year.
Transboundary threats are also an aggravating factor in some regions. In particular, desert locust infestations in the Horn of Africa and African migratory locust swarms in Southern Africa.