DAKAR – The number of women, men and children affected by a food and nutrition crisis in West and Central Africa is expected to reach a new record high in June 2022 – quadrupling in just three years from 10.7 million in 2019 to 41 million in 2022 – unless appropriate measures are urgently taken, reveals the Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis released in March 2022.

Following the high-level conference in Paris on food security and nutrition situation in West Africa, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for longer-term political and financial commitments to address the worst food security and nutrition crisis to strike the region in 10 years.

“The situation is spiraling out of control. Needs are escalating much faster than we are currently able to respond – this in an immensely complex and volatile operational environment,” said Chris Nikoi, the U.N. World Food Programme’s regional director for West Africa.

“Both governments and partners need a step-change in tackling the underlying drivers of hunger and malnutrition. Bold and rigorous political actions are needed now, including lifting barriers to the regional trade and ensuring the most acute needs are met during a lean season that is projected to be extremely challenging in the region,” Nikoi added.

There is a high risk that the food and nutrition crisis will be further aggravated due to persistent insecurity that continues to trigger massive population displacement, the impact of the climate crisis, disrupted food systems, limited food production, barriers to regional trade and the socioeconomic fallout from the pandemic which has devastated national economies. Furthermore, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is violently disrupting the global trade of food, fertilizers and oil products, with the already high prices of agricultural products reaching record highs not seen in the region since 2011.

While the increase in staple food prices has been steady in all countries in the region, a staggering 40% jump from the five-year average has been witnessed in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Mali and Mauritania – pushing basic meals out of reach for millions of women, men and children.

“This unprecedented food crisis the region is facing offers an opportunity for us to address the root causes of food insecurity in the sub-region by developing food and agricultural systems that are less dependent on external shocks, and a more productive and efficient local agriculture with a particular emphasis on the consumption of local food products” said Dr Gouantoueu Robert Guei, Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa and FAO representative in Senegal.

The nutritional situation also remains a grave concern in the region, particularly in the Sahelian countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad where an estimated 6 million children under the age of five are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022. Nutritional analyses conducted across the Sahel and in Nigeria point to a crisis or emergency situation in several locations in Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria.

“Africa has the largest untapped potential of arable land, yet most of these countries import food. Governments need to support long-term agriculture plans for the next generation, including investments in developing agriculture, livestock and fisheries to achieve food security,” said Benoit Thierry, IFAD regional representative in West Africa.

The March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé projections suggest that in coastal countries, the number of food insecure people has doubled since 2020, rising from 3 million people in the June-August 2020 period to over 6 million in June-August 2022. This includes nearly 110,000 people facing Emergency (Phase 4) levels of food insecurity. The coastal region is likely to experience further increases in food prices and disruptions in the supply of agricultural products (especially fertilizers), due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“Acute food insecurity is no longer restricted to the Sahel; it is expanding into Costal countries. We need to respond in a way that is sustainable, at the right scale, and that tackles the multifaceted socio-political and socio-economic elements of the crises the region faces. This will only be achieved through enhanced collaboration, coordination mechanisms at national and regional levels, and leadership at all levels, including from governments, donors, and UN agencies,” Nikoi added.

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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.

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to eliminate hunger. Its goal is to achieve food security for all and to ensure regular and adequate access to good quality food for all, enabling people to lead healthy and active lives. With over 194 member countries, FAO works in more than 130 countries around the world.

FAO’s primary language accounts on Twitter are @FAO, @FAOArabic, @FAOenEspanol and @FAOenFrancais 

COX’S BAZAR – The almost 1 million Rohingya refugees and their host community in Cox’s Bazar remain vulnerable and need continued support almost five years after they were forced to flee their homes for safety, according to the latest Refugee Influx Emergency Vulnerability Assessment conducted by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners.

The Rohingya’s extreme vulnerabilities are further exacerbated by large-scale hazards, including fires and floods that hit the camps in 2021. Almost all 900,000 refugees – 95% of them – remain entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance today. In the host community, where most families rely on daily-wage jobs, a slow economic recovery after COVID-19 lockdown measures has caused their vulnerability levels to increase, with 52% of the families considered moderately to highly vulnerable now compared to 41% in 2019.

“The Ukraine crisis is a stark reminder that no one chooses to be a refugee. In this year of unprecedented humanitarian need, we hope the international community won’t lose sight of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who are more vulnerable than ever and may be plunged further into destitution by the impact of food and fuel price hikes,” said Sheila Grudem, the U.N. World Food Programme senior emergency coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

Access to food remains a top priority for both refugees and host communities, with 82% and 59% of families, respectively, reporting so. They are also worried about the continuation of food assistance. A growing number of families in both communities fall into debt to cover their most essential needs, such as food. This is particularly worrying as their ability to withstand any new shocks and stressors will be compromised.

In 2021, the U.N. World Food Programme continued to provide monthly cash-based food assistance to almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and increased the number of fresh food corners available at its retail outlets in the camps. All refugees can now purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, live chicken and fish from the outlets using their monthly entitlements known as “e-vouchers.” This assistance also provides substantial economic opportunities for the host community, injecting $11 million into the local economy every month.

The U.N. World Food Programme also continued its cash assistance to host community families affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19, reaching 450,000 people in 2021. The U.N. World Food Programme directly provides economic opportunities year-round in the host community through cash-for-work programs as well as livelihoods grants and business skills trainings.

“In 2022, we count on the continued support of all donors to help us provide vital assistance to Rohingya families as well as their host community, who has demonstrated remarkable solidarity by welcoming them almost five years ago. Any drop in funding will directly threaten the food security of refugees and make the recovery of the communities more difficult,” Grudem added.

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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.

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JUBA – More than 70% of the South Sudanese population will struggle to survive the peak of the lean season this year as the country grapples with unprecedented levels of hunger caused by conflict, climate shocks, COVID-19 and rising costs, warned the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today.

While global attention remains fixated on Ukraine, a hidden hunger emergency is engulfing South Sudan where about 8.3 million people – including refugees – are set to face extreme hunger in the coming months. As the 2022 lean season peaks, food becomes scarce and provisions are depleted according to the latest findings published in the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview. Particularly at risk are tens of thousands of South Sudanese who are already severely hungry following successive and continuous shocks. They could starve without food assistance.

South Sudan forms part of a “ring of fire” encircling the globe where climate shocks, conflict, COVID-19 and rising costs are driving millions closer to starvation. The impact of the climate crisis and ongoing conflict have led to large scale displacement, livelihoods losses, the destruction of arable land and crops as well as rising food prices — threatening the survival of communities living in some of the most isolated areas in the States of Jonglei, Lakes, Unity and Warrap.

“The extent and depth of this crisis is unsettling. We’re seeing people across the country who have exhausted all their available options to make ends meet and now they are left with nothing,” said Adeyinka Badejo, deputy country director of the U.N. World Food Programme in South Sudan.

Turning the Tide on Hunger

While providing critical food and nutrition assistance to meet the immediate needs of populations at risk, the U.N. World Food Programme simultaneously implements resilience building activities to help these communities cope with sudden shocks without losing all their productive assets.

“Given the magnitude of this crisis, our resources only allow us to reach only some of those most in need with the bare minimum to survive, which is not nearly enough to allow communities to get back on their feet. The U.N. World Food Programme is working tirelessly not only to cater for these immediate needs, but also to support communities to restore their own resilience and be better prepared to face new shocks,” said Badejo.

In 2021, the U.N. World Food Programme reached 5.9 million people with food and nutrition assistance, including more than 730,000 people in South Sudan who benefited from livelihoods activities.

In Greater Jonglei and Unity States, where unprecedented floods and localized conflict prevented people from reaching their cultivated fields, the U.N. World Food Programme supported people with cash assistance to buy food and other basic needs, provided communities with tools to protect and maintain critical assets, and trained young people in various vocational activities, including post-harvest management.

To help communities prepare for the impact of floods, the U.N. World Food Programme built dykes in areas at risk such as Bor in Jonglei State, where constructing an 11-mile dyke enabled thousands of displaced families to return to their homes. Similarly, the U.N. World Food Programme began restoring a key roadway submerged following the devastating floods that hit Bentiu in Unity State, where many people remain displaced.

In areas not affected by floodwaters, the U.N. World Food Programme worked with community members to clear and cultivate more than 40,000 acres of land to grow food, thereby enabling smallholder farmers to be more self-reliant throughout the year.

“Investing in resilience is an important step to help communities find their way out of poverty and hunger. While we stand on their side to address their most immediate challenges, we must also work closely with the Government and other development partners to seek longer-term solutions to some of the chronic problems that South Sudan faces – addressing entrenched inequity and isolation and restoring conditions for peace and stability,” said Badejo.

Contributing to alleviate South Sudan’s hunger crisis in an integrated and sustainable way is a significant challenge. The U.N. World Food Programme faces a major funding shortfall of $526 million dollars for the next six months to cover its crisis response, resilience building and longer-term development programs in the country.

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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.

 

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Washington, DC | Feb. 6, 2022 – Our hearts go out to those impacted by Cyclone Batsirai, which made landfall on the east coast of Madagascar on Saturday evening with wind gusts of 146 mph. At least six people are confirmed dead and nearly 50,000 displaced to date. Whole villages are reported to be almost completely wiped out. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that as many as 150,000 could be forced to leave their homes. In a double whammy for vulnerable communities, the cyclone comes hot on the heels of Storm Ana two weeks ago, which severely damaged livelihoods, agricultural land, and key infrastructure in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.

World Food Program USA is closely monitoring the unfolding crisis and stands ready to support the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency response. In anticipation of Cyclone Batsirai, the U.N. World Food Programme pre-positioned 50 metric tons of food to quickly provide assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme is also strengthening its supply chain and IT capacities to support the government’s emergency response.

“We stand committed to the people of Madagascar and will do everything we can to reach vulnerable families in their time of need,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO of World Food Program USA. “But we can’t do it without the support of donors. Please join us as we work to provide urgent relief to storm victims.”

In Southern Africa, where livelihoods and economies are highly dependent on weather fluctuations, frequent climate extremes like cyclones are driving hunger and eroding development. With no time or means to recover, communities rely on humanitarian assistance. In Madagascar, the U.N. World Food Programme helps communities build resilience so they can withstand shocks and protect development. This work is key to mitigating the impacts of increasingly frequent and destructive storms that increase food insecurity.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and 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.

World Food Program USA, a 501©(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit wfpusa.org/mission-history.

Media Contact:
Toula Athas
Director, Communications
tathas@wfpusa.org
202-627-3940

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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