Disasters & Accidents

Ukraine war aggravates famine already affecting 193 million people

Rome, May 4 (EFE) – The impact of the war in Ukraine on supply chains is aggravating severe hunger crises suffered by 193 million people in the world, a 25% increase compared to the previous year, according to a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC), in collaboration with various UN agencies, published Wednesday.

“Some countries facing food crises are particularly vulnerable to the risks to food markets created by the war in the Black Sea area, notably due to their high dependency on imports of food, fuel and agricultural inputs and/or vulnerability to global food price shocks,” the Annual Report on Food Crises found.

In 2021, about 193 million people in 53 countries around the world were affected by acute food crises — an annual increase of 40 million people — according to the GNAFC, which is supported by the United Nations’ Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The figures demonstrate an upward trend that has grown steadily over the last six years.

Although the report — which focused on food crises of during 2021 — does not delve into the effects of the Ukraine war in great depth, it noted that the war has emphasized “the fragility of global food systems,” especially in countries already facing a crisis situation.

The dependence of many African countries on wheat produced in Ukraine and Russia, such as Somalia, which imported 90%, the Democratic Republic of Congo (80%) and Madagascar (70%), has led to shortages.

Rising energy prices, which have affected the entire supply chain, have also caused extreme food price inflation, which is at an all-time high, according to the FAO.

This increase has also affected the price and supply of fertilizers, which are crucial to those countries where large segments of the population work in the agricultural sector and which have struggled to save crops, further aggravating the situation of food insecurity in the region.

The food crisis was already acute before the Russian invasion, due to the conflicts that have plagued many African and Middle Eastern countries for years, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the effects of climate change that have led to extreme droughts.

The countries most at risk today are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Nigeria, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Pakistan and Haiti, where 70 % of the population is at risk.

But beyond situations of acute famine, about 236 million people in 41 countries do not have reliable access to healthy and regular food.

For Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 12 million people experienced a food crisis situation, especially in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti, where 46% of its population is suffering from food shortages. EFE


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