You’ve seen the headlines about looming famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
But many more hunger crises go ignored.
Here are six catastrophes — many driven by conflict and extreme weather — that you need to know about:
Back-to-back droughts in the Horn of Africa have left more than 10 million people in need of food assistance in Ethiopia — with the country’s Somali region at the epicenter. Families have made dangerous sacrifices to keep food on the table, selling undernourished livestock at low prices.
The response led by the government has begun to stabilize the situation, but additional support is urgently needed to prevent the situation from worsening, especially in the hardest-hit southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia where spring rains failed for the third consecutive year.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is targeting 5.5 million people in Ethiopia with emergency food and cash assistance, as well as nutrition interventions for children, mothers and refugees.
2. Central African Republic (CAR)
The civil war in CAR continues, and a surge in violence earlier this year forced massive numbers of people to flee their homes, exacerbating humanitarian needs. As of late July 2017, almost half of the country’s population is food-insecure, and over 40 percent of children under age 5 are stunted.
“If we do not act now… we will see increasing need and even greater vulnerability of already weakened people,” said U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien after a recent trip to CAR, “And even greater stress on the capacity of humanitarians and funding.”
WFP and its partners are distributing food and specialized nutritious products to the most vulnerable around the country. The agency has until now used its own resources to support the emergency response — reallocating food from other programs. Its emergency operation is running out of stock and only one-quarter funded.
3. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The DRC’s under-reported crisis in the remote Kasai region is extremely alarming. Thousands have been killed and buried in mass graves, and close to 4 million people — 90 percent of the region’s population — have fled their homes to the forest, to host families and into neighboring Angola, as of late August 2017. Close to 8 million are in need of food assistance.
During a recent visit to the area, WFP Director of Emergencies Denise Brown described the testimony of a woman who lost her husband and five of her children as “traumatizing even for the listener, let alone for the survivors.”
WFP and partner World Vision International have already been working to provide food to 91,000 people and plan to reach over 251,000 internally displaced people through an emergency operation launched in September 2017. This food includes High-Energy Biscuits, cornmeal, beans, vegetable oil and salt, alongside specialized nutritious food to treat malnutrition in children and pregnant and nursing mothers.