The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) identified Northern Nigeria and 22 other conflict areas as hunger alert hotspots for the next four months due to covid-19 and conflict.
This was disclosed by Ms Eri Kaneko, the Associate Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres at the UN headquarters on Friday in New York in a meeting with newsmen after the two UN agencies released a hunger report. Kaneko added that Ethiopia and Madagascar were the world’s newest “highest alert” hunger hotspots, according to the report.
“The highest alert list also includes South Sudan, Yemen, and northern Nigeria. In some areas of these countries, significant numbers of people are at risk of falling into famine.
“The report flags other countries where life-threatening hunger is on the rise. They include Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan, and Syria,’’ she said.
The UN agencies added that humanitarian action is urgently needed to prevent hunger, famine and death in all 23 hotspots, citing issues from global food inflation and food insecurity due to fighting and blockades
“Bureaucratic obstacles, as well as a lack of funding, also hamper the two UN agencies’ efforts to provide emergency food assistance and enable farmers to plant at scale and at the right time.
“This is of grave concern as conflict, the economic repercussions of COVID-19 and the climate crisis are expected to drive higher levels of acute food insecurity in 23 hunger hotspots over the next four months,’’ The WFP and FAO warned.
FAO and WFP have already warned that 41 million people were at risk of falling into famine unless they received immediate food and livelihood assistance.
“2020 saw 155 million people facing acute food insecurity at Crisis or worse levels in 55 countries, and according to the Global Report on Food Crises, an increase of more than 20 million from 2019 – and the trend is only expected to worsen this year.
“The vast majority of those on the verge are farmers. Alongside food assistance, we must do all we can to help them resume food production themselves so that families and communities can move back towards self-sufficiency and not just depend on aid to survive,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
“That’s difficult without access, and without adequate funding – and so far, support to agriculture as key means of preventing widespread famine remains largely overlooked by donors, unfortunately.
“Without such support to agriculture, humanitarian needs will keep skyrocketing, that’s inevitable.
“Families that rely on humanitarian assistance to survive are hanging by a thread. When we cannot reach them that thread is cut, and the consequences are nothing short of catastrophic,” David Beasley, WFP Executive Director added.
They added that countries currently facing the most significant obstacles preventing aid from reaching those who need it most include Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
“The road to Zero Hunger isn’t paved with conflict, checkpoints and red tape,” they warned, citing that local authorities must approve necessary paperwork to get food to those who need it most.
What you should know
Recall Nairametrics reported last year that the United Nations supported Nigeria, Yemen, Afganistan, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the sum of $100 million to prevent possible famine, which it says is caused by insecurity, climate change, and poor economic environment.
UN said Nigeria’s funds would be directed to the North-Eastern region at risk of famine and the country would receive the aid of $15 million alongside.