August 20, 2022

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UN says billions face levels of food insecurity: 'The world is in decline'

UN says billions face levels of food insecurity: ‘The world is in decline’

new United nations A report released Wednesday outlined the shocking statistics about levels of hunger worldwide, which show billions of people are facing food insecurity or on the brink of starvation.

the report, “The state of food security and nutrition in the worldHe says world hunger has risen in 2021, with about 2.3 billion people having moderate or severe difficulty getting enough food. The number of those facing severe food insecurity has risen to nearly 924 million.

FILE: Sergey, 11, waits his turn to receive donated food during a humanitarian aid distribution in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File/AP Newsroom)

The report, issued by the World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, says that the 2021 statistics show that “the world is moving backwards in its efforts to eradicate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms.”

The heads of the five agencies say in the report that in addition to disruptions in supply chains from the war in Ukraine that have driven up food prices, more frequent and extreme weather events are also causing supply problems, especially in low-income countries.

Global food shortage is a “disaster,” said the head of the United Nations

The report says Hunger continued to rise last year in AfricaAsia and Latin America and the Caribbean, but at a slower pace from 2019 to 2020.

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“In 2021, hunger affected 278 million people in Africa, 425 million in Asia and 56.5 million in Latin America and the Caribbean,” she added.

David Beasley, head of the United Nations World Food Program, said the analysis shows that “a record 345 million people suffering from acute hunger are on the brink of famine” – a 25% increase from 276 million at the start of 2022 before that. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The number was 135 million before the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

African wheat shortage

A woman walks past stacked bags of wheat flour at Hamar Win Market in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP newsroom)

“There is a real risk that it will rise further in the coming months,” he said. “The most worrying thing is that when this group is divided, 50 million people in 45 countries are just one step away from starvation.”

The prevalence of ‘undernourishment’ – when food consumption is not sufficient to maintain an active and healthy life – is used to measure hunger, and continued to rise in 2021. The report estimates that over 828 million people faced hunger last year.

Before the war, Ukraine and Russia together accounted for almost a third of the world’s exports of wheat and barley and half of sunflower oil. Meanwhile, Russia and its ally Belarus are the second and third producers of potash, a major component of fertilizer.

Beasley called for an urgent political solution that would allow Ukrainian wheat and grain to enter world markets again.

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The United Nations development goals call for an end to extreme poverty and zero hunger by 2030, but the report says that projections indicate that 8% of the world’s population – nearly 670 million people – will face hunger by the end of the decade. This is the same number of people in 2015 when the goals were adopted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.