Global Report on Food Crises 2018 - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

(Pic - WHO)
As per Dominique Burgeon, FAO Director of Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Strategic Programme Leader – Resilience, acute food insecurity is when people, due to shocks such as conflicts or natural disasters, cannot meet their basic food needs both in terms of quality and quantity. And they cannot do it even if they deplete their most critical properties. 

In 2017, there were 124 million people in 51 countries in a situation of acute food insecurity. The most affected countries were Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and North East Nigeria. Famine was even declared in two countries of South Sudan in early 2017. Out of 124 million people affected by acute food insecurity, 74 million were living in 18 countries devastated by conflicts. This amount to about 60% of the total number of food insecure people. Besides conflict, natural disasters, climate extreme events such as droughts, have had a tremendous impact on people’s lives, and livelihoods, and food security as we have seen in Southern Africa and in the Horn of Africa, where drought have devastated livelihood and crops, and massively killed animals among pastoral communities. It is important to keep in mind that in countries affected by conflict, the vast majority of livelihoods depend on agriculture. When a conflict starts, obviously the most visible effect is shelling and the massive destruction of infrastructures, but it also has a tremendous impact on agriculture-based livelihoods, on the food systems on which people depend. For many of these people, when they realize that they no longer have access to agricultural inputs or markets, often the last resort solution is to move, within the country or across the border, becoming refugees and migrants. 

The Global Report on Food Crisis tells us that humanitarian assistance is absolutely needed, but not sufficient. What we need to do, even in the midst of a conflict, is to work on the root causes of these situations. We need to work with the development actors to make sure that the required investments are being made to build people’s resilience, to build people’s capacity to cope. Unless we do that, the number of people in crisis and in food security emergencies will keep increasing.

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