JUBA – Almost one-third of the severely hungry South Sudanese the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) planned to support this year will be left without humanitarian food assistance due to critical funding shortages, heightening the risk of starvation for 1.7 million people.

The suspension of aid comes at the worst possible time for the people of South Sudan as the country faces a year of unprecedented hunger. Over 60% of the population are grappling with severe hunger during the lean season, fueled by continuing conflict, severe flooding, localized drought and soaring food prices exacerbated by the crisis in Ukraine.

“We are extremely concerned about the impact of the funding cuts on children, women and men who will not have enough to eat during the lean season. These families have completely exhausted their coping strategies. They need immediate humanitarian assistance to put food on the table in the short-term and to rebuild their livelihoods and resilience to cope with future shocks,” said Adeyinka Badejo, acting country director of the U.N. World Food Programme in South Sudan.

“Humanitarian needs are far exceeding the funding we have received this year. If this continues, we will face bigger and more costly problems in the future, including increased mortality, malnutrition, stunting and disease,” said Badejo.

The U.N. World Food Programme had exhausted all options before suspending food assistance, including halving rations in 2021 – leaving families in need with less food to eat. These latest reductions to assistance will also impact 178,000 schoolchildren who will no longer receive daily school meals – a crucial safety net that helps keep South Sudanese children in school to learn and grow.

More drastic reductions will be unavoidable, unless more funding is received, which will leave vulnerable people unable to meet their basic food needs and reverting to survival strategies such as skipping or reducing meals, selling assets, using child labor and child marriage.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s crisis response and resilience-building development programs are drastically underfunded this year. The U.N. World Food Programme requires $426 million dollars to reach 6 million food insecure people through 2022.

Notes for Editors: Food Security Situation in South Sudan

In 2022, food insecurity in South Sudan is alarmingly high. The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment warned that 7.74 million people will face severe acute hunger at the height of the lean season between June and August, while 1.4 million children will be acutely malnourished.

The U.N. World Food Programme is prioritizing its limited food assistance to reach 4.5 million people struggling with severe hunger across 52 counties in South Sudan, including 87,000 people in eight counties already experiencing catastrophic hunger and living in famine-like conditions.

A U.N. World Food Programme food ration includes cereals, beans, vegetable oil and salt.

This year, the U.N. World Food Programme plans to reach 6 million food-insecure people in South Sudan with food assistance, nutrition support, cash stipends and livelihoods opportunities to build the resilience of communities – prioritizing the most vulnerable and conflict-affected women, children and the elderly.

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Conflict, weather extremes, economic shocks, the lingering impacts of COVID-19 and the ripple effects from the war in Ukraine push millions of people in countries across the world into poverty and hunger as food and fuel price spikes drive nations closer to instability, says new hunger hotspots report.

ROME – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today issued a stark warning of multiple, looming food crises, driven by conflict, climate shocks, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and massive public debt burdens – exacerbated by the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine which has pushed food and fuel prices to accelerate in many nations across the globe. These shocks hit in contexts already characterized by rural marginalization and fragile agrifood systems.

The Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity report issued today calls for urgent humanitarian action in 20 “hunger hotspots” where acute hunger is expected to worsen from June – September 2022.

The report warns that the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already steadily rising food and energy prices worldwide. The effects are expected to be particularly acute where economic instability and spiraling prices combine with drops in food production due to climate shocks, such as recurrent droughts or flooding.

“We are deeply concerned about the combined impacts of overlapping crises jeopardizing people’s ability to produce and access foods, pushing millions more into extreme levels of acute food insecurity,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “We are in a race against time to help farmers in the most affected countries, including by rapidly increasing potential food production and boosting their resilience in the face of challenges.”

“We’re facing a perfect storm that is not just going to hurt the poorest of the poor. It’s also going to overwhelm millions of families who, until now, have just about kept their heads above water,” warned U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley.

“Conditions now are much worse than during the Arab Spring in 2011 and 2007-2008 food price crisis, when 48 countries were rocked by political unrest, riots and protests. We’ve already seen what’s happening in Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru and Sri Lanka – that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have solutions. But we need to act, and act fast,” he warned.

Key findings

The report finds that – alongside conflict – frequent and recurring climate shocks continue to drive acute hunger and shows that we have entered a ‘new normal’ where droughts, flooding, hurricanes, and cyclones repeatedly decimate farming and livestock rearing, drive population displacement and push millions to the brink in countries across the world.

The report warns that worrisome climatic trends linked to La Niña since late 2020 are expected to continue through 2022, driving up humanitarian needs and acute hunger. An unprecedented drought in East Africa affecting Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya is leading to a fourth consecutive below-average rainfall season, while South Sudan will face its fourth consecutive year of large-scale flooding – which will likely continue to drive people from their homes and devastate crops and livestock production. The report also expects above-average rains and a risk of localized flooding in the Sahel, a more intense hurricane season in the Caribbean, and below-average rains in Afghanistan – which is already reeling from multiple seasons of drought, violence and political upheaval.

The report also emphasises the urgency of the dire macroeconomic conditions in several countries – brought on by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by the recent upheaval in global food and energy markets. These conditions are causing dramatic income losses among the poorest communities and are straining the capacity of national governments to fund social safety nets, income-supporting measure, and the import of essential goods.

According to the report, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen remain at ‘highest alert’ as hotspots with catastrophic conditions. Afghanistan and Somalia are new entries to this worrisome category since the last hotspots report released January 2022. These six countries all have parts of the population facing IPC Phase 5 ‘Catastrophe’ or at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions, with up to 750,000 people facing starvation and death. 400,000 of these are in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – the highest number on record in one country since the famine in Somalia in 2011.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the Sahel, the Sudan and Syria remain ‘of very high concern’ with deteriorating critical conditions, as in the previous edition of this report – with Kenya a new entry to the list. Sri Lanka, West African coastal countries (Benin, Cabo Verde and Guinea), Ukraine and Zimbabwe have been added to the list of hotspots countries, joining Angola, Lebanon, Madagascar and Mozambique which continue to be hunger hotspots – according to the report.

Scaling up anticipatory action to prevent disasters

The report provides concrete, country-specific recommendations on priorities for immediate humanitarian response to save lives, prevent famine and protect livelihoods, as well as anticipatory action. The recent G7 commitment highlighted the importance of strengthening anticipatory action in humanitarian and development assistance – ensuring predictable hazards don’t become full-blown humanitarian disasters.

FAO and WFP have partnered to ramp up the scale and reach of anticipatory action, to protect communities’ lives, food security and livelihoods before they need lifesaving assistance in the critical window between an early warning and a shock. Flexible humanitarian funding enables FAO and the U.N. World Food Programme to anticipate humanitarian needs and save lives. Evidence shows that for every $1 invested in anticipatory action to safeguard lives and livelihoods, up to $7 can be saved by avoiding losses for disaster-affected communities.

 

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About the report

Identified through forward-looking analysis, the ‘hunger hotspots’ have the potential for acute food insecurity to increase during the outlook period. The hotspots are selected through a consensus-based process involving the U.N. World Food Programme and FAO field and technical teams, alongside analysts specialized in conflict, economic risks and natural hazards.

The report provides country-specific recommendations on priorities for anticipatory action – short-term protective interventions to be implemented before new humanitarian needs materialize and emergency response – actions to address existing humanitarian needs. The report is part of a series of analytical products produced under the Global Network Against Food Crises, to enhance and coordinate the generation and sharing of evidence-based information and analysis for preventing and addressing food crises.

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About FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It aims at transforming agri-food systems, making them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable for better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life, leaving no-one behind. FAO’s goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 Members, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.

About WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

About the Global Network Against Food Crises

Founded by the European Union, FAO and the U.N. World Food Programme in 2016, the Global Network Against Food Crises is an alliance of humanitarian and development actors working together to prevent, prepare for and respond to food crises and support the Sustainable Development Goal to End Hunger (SDG 2).

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@wfp_media, @FAOnews, @FAOemergencies and @fightfoodcrises

Hunger and malnutrition worsen across Somalia as risk of famine increases amid historic fourth failed rainy season.

Mogadishu – A historic fourth consecutive failed rainy season, skyrocketing prices and an underfunded humanitarian response have resulted in a 160% increase in people facing catastrophic levels of hunger, starvation and disease in Somalia. With no end in sight for the devastating drought affecting the country, the risk of famine looms larger than ever. An urgent increase in support from the international community is essential to avert famine.

A new report from the Famine Early Warning Network and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), based on a rapid assessment by multiple United Nations agencies, shows that 7.1 million Somalis (close to 50% of the population) now face crisis-level hunger or worse through at least September 2022. Of those, 213,000 people face catastrophic hunger and starvation, a drastic increase from the 81,000 forecast in April. More areas are at risk of famine, particularly in the south of the country in regions where insecurity and conflict make humanitarian access more challenging.

These figures reflect a food security situation that is expected to deteriorate rapidly over the coming months. United Nations agencies and partners are now focusing their limited resources on famine prevention to protect the country’s most at risk, as meteorological organizations warn that another below-average rainy season could follow later in the year.

“We are staring at a potential calamity; failure to act now will be tragic for scores of families in Somalia,” said Adam Abdelmoula, deputy special representative of the secretary-general, resident and humanitarian coordinator. “Somalia is in danger of entering an unprecedented fifth consecutive failed rainy season, meaning hundreds of thousands of people face the risk of famine. Famine cost the lives of 260,000 Somalis in 2010 – 2011.This cannot be allowed to happen again in 2022. It is urgent that more is done to avert this risk and done now,” he said.

Collectively, humanitarian agencies have reached 2.8 million people between January and April 2022 with lifesaving and livelihood assistance through drought assistance and famine prevention programs, but the new assessment clearly indicates that the scale of assistance currently being delivered and funding from the international community is not yet sufficient to protect those most at risk.

Food prices affecting the most vulnerable

Somali families are increasingly unable to cope with soaring food prices as local food has become scarce due to consecutive seasons of poor or failed domestic production, livestock deaths and imported food prices reaching record levels – in part because of supply chain disruptions due to conflict in Ukraine. In parts of the country, food prices have risen 140 – 160%, leaving poor families hungry and destitute.

“We must act immediately to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The lives of the most vulnerable are already at risk from malnutrition and hunger, and we cannot wait for a declaration of famine to act,” said El-Khidir Daloum, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)’s country director in Somalia. “It’s a race against time to prevent famine and the U.N. World Food Programme is scaling up as much as possible, prioritizing our limited resources to save those most at risk. But as these new figures show, there is an urgent need for more resources to meet this escalating hunger crisis,” he said.

Around 3 million livestock have died due to the drought since mid-2021, and the decline in meat and milk production has also led to worsening malnutrition, particularly among young children in pastoral areas who are dependent on local supply. As of May 2022, an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of 5 face acute malnutrition through the end of the year, including 386,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished – an increase of 55,000 compared to previous estimates.

The malnutrition crisis is likely to worsen as the nutrition situation deteriorates further in the affected areas, with children and vulnerable people the hardest hit. “This is a child crisis. It’s not only about water or nutrition, but also about children losing education, falling vulnerable to child protection issues and having poor health; all impacting their future,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Somalia Representative. UNICEF has supported the treatment of more than 114,000 children with severe acute malnutrition between January and April 2022. “We are treating children but now we need further funding to prevent a famine and protect the future of every Somali child,” she said.

Grim situation as humanitarian funding falls far short

The grim food security situation is unfolding as humanitarian funding from the international community has so far fallen short of coming close to what actors need to avert a famine in the country. The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan is currently only 18% funded. “The support required has not yet fully materialized, and hundreds of thousands of Somalis are at a very real risk of starvation and death,” said Etienne Peterschmitt, FAO’s representative in Somalia.

“It’s a tragedy to see the level of distress that rural communities in particular are experiencing, and we are being limited in what we can do to prevent this extraordinary suffering. We’re calling on the international community to act fast while we still have some hope of preventing collapse of livelihoods, potentially massive population displacement from rural areas to IDP camps and widespread famine in Somalia,” he said.

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NAIROBI – Almost a month into the current rainy season, desperately needed rains across the Horn of Africa have so far failed to materialize. If these conditions continue, the number of hungry people due to drought could spiral from the currently estimated 14 million to 20 million through 2022, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today.

With Somalia facing the risk of famine, half a million Kenyans one step away from catastrophic levels of hunger and malnutrition rates in Ethiopia well above emergency thresholds, time is fast running out for families who are struggling to survive.

“We know from past experience that acting early to avert a humanitarian catastrophe is vital, yet our ability to launch the response has been limited due to a lack of funding to date,” said Michael Dunford, U.N. World Food Programme’s regional director for Eastern Africa. “The U.N. World Food Programme and other humanitarian agencies have been warning the international community since last year that this drought could be disastrous if we didn’t act immediately, but funding has failed to materialize at the scale required.”

The situation has been compounded by the fallout of conflict in Ukraine, with the cost of food and fuel soaring to unprecedented highs. Drought-affected countries across the Horn of Africa are likely to be the hardest hit by impacts of the conflict – the cost of a food basket has already risen, particularly in Ethiopia (66%) and Somalia (36%) which depend heavily on wheat from Black Sea basin countries. The disruption in imports further threatens food security. Shipping costs on some routes have doubled since January 2022.

During the 2016/17 drought in the Horn of Africa, catastrophe was avoided through early action. Humanitarian assistance was scaled up before there was widespread hunger. In 2022, due to a severe lack of resourcing, there are growing fears that it won’t be possible to prevent the looming disaster – and millions will suffer as a result.

The U.N. World Food Programme last appealed for desperately needed funding in February, yet less than 4% of what was needed was raised. Over the next six months, the U.N. World Food Programme needs $473 million to scale-up assistance and save lives across the three countries – Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

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In Ethiopia crops have failed, over a million livestock have died and an estimated 7.2 million people wake up hungry every day in southern and southeastern Ethiopia as the country grapples with the most severe drought since 1981. The U.N. World Food Programme is on the ground, aiming to support 3.5 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance, school feeding programs as well as climate change adaptation and resilience building activities. Immediate and scaled-up assistance is critical to avoid a major humanitarian crisis in the drought-affected areas of Ethiopia and help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks. The U.N. World Food Programme urgently requires $239 million over the next six months to respond to the drought in southern Ethiopia.

In Kenya, the number of people in need of assistance has risen more than fourfold in less than two years. According to the Short Rains Assessment, the rapidly escalating drought has left 3.1 million people acutely hungry (IPC3 and above), including half a million Kenyans who are facing emergency levels of hunger (IPC4). The U.N. World Food Programme urgently requires $42 million over the next six months to meet the needs of the most critically affected communities in northern and eastern parts of the country.

In Somalia, some 6 million people (40% of the population) are facing acute hunger (IPC3 or above) and, alarmingly, there is a very real risk of famine in the coming months if the rains don’t arrive and humanitarian assistance isn’t received. The U.N. World Food Programme is scaling up emergency food and nutrition assistance to support 3 million people by the middle of this year. However, a $192 million relief funding gap over the next six months means that the U.N. World Food Programme has less than half of what it needs to keep scaling up. As a result, the U.N. World Food Programme is having to prioritize both nutrition (where treatment has taken precedence over prevention) and food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme has launched its largest anticipatory action intervention so far in Africa, equipping vulnerable Somali households in drought hotspots with additional cash transfers and a public information campaign to help them withstand the impact of a potential fourth failed rainy season. The U.N. World Food Programme is also continuing livelihoods, resilience and food systems programs to protect recent development gains and support vulnerable Somalis against droughts and other crises in the long term.

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Johannesburg – Women and girls, especially in rural communities, continue to face the brunt of the climate crisis that exacerbates preexisting inequalities, jeopardizes their food security and feeds instability and migration, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day 2022 focuses on “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world who play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Women and girls often lack appropriate access to disaster information, financial services and participation in community decision-making and resource allocation. Such inequalities undermine the ability of women to prepare for, cope with and recover from climate shocks and stresses.

Currently, the U.N. World Food Programme is providing variations of microinsurance and other small-scale farmer support targeting female producers in  Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar, among others.

“Women are the bedrock of food security and yet are hardest hit by climate shocks and food insecurity,” said the U.N. World Food Programme’s Assistant Executive Director Valerie Guarnieri. “A sustainable future is only possible when women and girls have what they need to adapt to the changing climate.”

Evidence suggests that southern Africa is being hurt more than other regions by climate change – and that women and girls are bearing the brunt. Its temperatures are rising at twice the global average, triggering more frequent and severe storms, and longer droughts, deepening already widespread hunger.

Much of that hunger is in rural areas among subsistence farming families, many of them headed by women.

Women and children make up most of the climate refugees who have fled southern Angola’s worst drought in 40 years, hoping neighboring Namibia offers a better chance of survival.

“The U.N. World Food Programme works hard to enable vulnerable communities across southern Africa withstand the impacts of climate change, by investing water conservation, reforestation and other adaptation measures”, said Regional Director Haile Menghestab. “Improving the lives of women and girls is central to those efforts.”

In a year when humanitarian needs are on an upward trend and aid agencies are stretched thin, supporting communities vulnerable to the harsh realities of the climate crisis is the need of the hour.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @wfp_africa

ROME – As climate extremes become more frequent and intense, women and girls – who are at a higher risk than men and boys of experiencing the devastating effects of the climate crisis – including hunger, need to be front and center when planning and implementing climate change adaptation solutions, said three United Nations’ food agencies at their joint International Women’s Day event today.

Organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the event recognized the contribution of women and girls around the world who play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. It also highlighted the need for women’s meaningful participation in decision-making processes related to climate resilience and adaptation.

Women and girls’ disproportionate dependence on climate-sensitive work like farming as well as their limited access to economic and production resources increase their susceptibility to the devastating impacts of cyclones, floods and droughts, which in turn impacts their livelihoods and food security.

Globally, 80% of the people displaced due to climate-related disasters are women. When homes are destroyed by climatic shocks, such as hurricanes, cyclones and earthquakes, women and girls are forced to flee to displacement camps where they are often exposed to increased violence.

“To have any meaningful and long-lasting impact, women and girls cannot be left out – they must be at the center of solutions and at the table designing those solutions,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy director-general and chair of the FAO Women’s Committee at the closing of the event.

FAO supports countries to develop gender-responsive climate policies and actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock. A specially designed program aims to strengthen women’s leadership and negotiation skills so they can become climate change negotiators. FAO also promotes parliamentary actions for targeted gender-budgeting and investments in agri-food systems in the context of climate change and COVID-19 response. It also assists members to adopt gender-responsive good practices to support climate-smart agriculture and is a leading implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund.

“The 1.7 billion women and girls living in the world’s rural areas are far more likely to be affected by climate shocks and conflicts – by an order of magnitude. Yet they are the ones that disproportionately contribute to the long-term resilience of our communities, nutrition and livelihoods. IFAD is working with rural women to strengthen adaptation to climate change in rural areas and preserve the natural resources on which we all rely,” said Dr. Jyotsna Puri, IFAD associate vice president. “With the right type of investments and recognition, they can help build a better future for all of us.”

Through its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), IFAD prioritizes women’s empowerment. It promotes women’s participation in community planning and decision-making on adaptation and ensures women access trainings and equipment such as drip irrigation and solar pumps. In Gambia, for example, through access to suitable water management systems and trainings in soil fertilization and transplanting, women have diversified and increased food production, earned higher incomes and have strengthened their community’s resilience to climate change.

“Vulnerable communities including women and girls on the frontlines of the climate crisis need urgent support to adapt and build resilience,” said U.N. World Food Programme Assistant Executive Director Valerie Guarnieri. “The U.N. World Food Programme provides climate solutions that empower women with access to early warning information and forecast-based financing before a disaster strikes and trains women on climate resilient agricultural practices.”

In Guatemala, where frequent and intense droughts, as well as excessive rains, severe flooding and landslides have led to chronic hunger in recent years, the U.N. World Food Programme has launched parametric insurance that offers women small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs coverage against droughts and excess rain to protect their livelihoods in the event of a climatic shock. The insurance guarantees pay-outs of up to $300 and ensures that they are able to meet their basic needs even in the face of a disaster.  The project targets indigenous women in the community, recognizing their particular vulnerabilities.

Women have been severely underrepresented in important decision-making processes regarding climate change solutions. The lack of fair representation of women in climate change adaptation frameworks results in the creation of solutions that do not accurately respond to the different needs of the diverse groups of people affected by the threats of climate change.

Empowering women to ensure their full participation in climate change adaptation decisions and frameworks is crucial for achieving a more sustainable world.

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Drought Is Drying up Land and Exacerbating Hunger

HUNGER CRISIS

The war in Ukraine is exacerbating hunger worldwide, including in South Sudan where extreme weather, high food prices and violence are driving millions into hunger. We URGENTLY need your support to scale up and send food today.

HUNGER CRISIS

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