The number one cause of hunger around the world is clear.
WFP assists 91.4 million people across 83 countries each year. Of these, 56 million of them are concentrated in only 8 countries. Why? According to a new report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), the reason is clear: Man-made conflict is the #1 driver of hunger on the planet. Here are the eight countries that 60 percent of the world’s hungry people call home:
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
- South Sudan
- The Lake Chad Basin
- The Central African Republic
The report shows that the link between conflict and hunger is not only undeniable, it is persistent and it is deadly.
Starvation as a tool of war
In May of 2018, the UN Security Council adopted a landmark resolution that condemned the use of starvation as a tool of war. It calls on all those engaged in armed conflict to comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to minimize the impact of military actions on civilians. This specifically includes the hampering of food production and distribution and allowing humanitarian access in a safe and timely manner.
An especially dark finding in the report is that violence against humanitarian workers is also growing, sometimes forcing them to suspend operations and deprive vulnerable populations of assistance. In 2018, aid workers and facilities were attacked in all eight of the countries listed above.
The growing number of long-term conflicts in the world is creating unprecedented and unacceptable levels of hunger:
Yemen is the world’s largest food security emergency. With 16 million people waking up hungry every day, it is a stark demonstration of the urgent need for an end to hostilities. Moreover, conflicting parties disregard the protected status of humanitarian facilities and personnel, which makes it difficult and dangerous to scale-up operations and prevent famine.
In the second half of 2018, the DRC had the second highest number of acutely food insecure people – 13 million – driven by a rise in armed conflict.
The percentage of rural Afghans facing acute food deficits is projected to reach 10.6 million people (or 47 percent of the country’s entire population) by March if urgent life-saving assistance is not provided.