The economic cost of the global pandemic as well as conflict and climate change are fueling food security fears which in 2020 reached their highest level in five years, according to a report released Wednesday.
Last year, 155 million people in 55 countries faced acute food shortages – 20 million more than in 2019, according to a report from the EU, FAO and the World Food Program, which considers that the problem is becoming more and more important. steadily worse.
“We must act together to prevent the situation from deteriorating further,” FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu told a video conference, describing the new global report on food crises as a call for “humanitarian action. urgent ”.
He added in a tweet: “We need to tackle the root causes and make agrifood systems more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. “
Last year, the Global Network Against Food Crises, which brings together the three international organizations, identified 28 million people in 28 countries as suffering from emergency levels of acute hunger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen and the Afghanistan being the most affected.
An additional 133,000 people were estimated to be living in the most severe and “catastrophic” phase of food insecurity in Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen.
Africa remains the continent most affected by food shortages with 98 million people affected, or 63% of cases worldwide, against 54% in 2019.
“For 100 million people facing an acute food crisis in 2020, the main cause was linked to conflict and insecurity,” Dominique Burgeon, FAO emergency director, told AFP, against 77 million in 2019. .
The economic crisis was the main cause of hunger for 40 million people, up from 24 million in 2019.
Burgeon said that “the pandemic has exacerbated vulnerabilities”, identifying Sudan, Zimbabwe and Haiti – the latter also affected by climate issues affecting the food security of some 15 million people.
With Covid restrictions still in place across much of the world, Burgeon said the coming year would be very difficult, exacerbating food security in already fragile economies.
He estimated that 142 million people would be affected in 40 of the most affected countries.
And as the world’s population is on track to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, the report concludes that Covid-19 has underscored the need to make food distribution more equitable as the number of mouths to feed increases.
© 2021 AFP