Hunger Hotspots Report Reveals 73 Million Face Probable Hunger

Food insecurity has persistently challenged the African continent, damaging livelihoods, causing casualties, and rendering women and children helpless as illustrated by the Hunger Hotspots report. The new “Hunger Hotspots” report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), covering June to October 2024, indicates an escalating food insecurity crisis across the continent. Up to 18 countries are declared as facing hunger, with people starving.

African hunger hotspots where millions are facing acute food insecurity include Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and Burkina Faso.

The report reveals a probable increase in the number of food-insecure people to 73 million in Eastern and Southern Africa by the end of 2024. The projected hotspots in these regions are Sudan (16 million), Ethiopia (12 million), South Sudan (8 million), and Somalia (3.5 million).

The report highlights areas of highest concern, currently including South Sudan, Sudan, Haiti, Mali, and the Palestinian territories, declaring them as experiencing famine and at severe risk. Most of these hotspots face internal and external conflicts, climate extremes, economic shocks, and other factors driving households into food emergencies.

Based on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, there is a clear indication that conflict causes widespread displacement, destruction of food systems, and restricted humanitarian access, making it a primary cause of food insecurity. These issues have exacerbated the food crisis in Ethiopia, Malawi, Somalia, Zimbabwe, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Burkina Faso, all of which continue to face acute hunger.

Constant emergency calls have been made due to famine and hunger in most situations and have resulted in countless lives lost hence this situation necessitating a proactive approach to address food insecurity issues effectively.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu emphasizes the need for a more proactive and anticipatory approach, inclusive of sustainable resilience building to help vulnerable communities cope with unprecedented shocks.

“Acting ahead of crises can save lives, reduce food shortages, and protect livelihoods at a much lower cost than an untimely humanitarian response,” Dongyu said.

Highlighting the importance of early warning, preparedness, and response, Cindy McCain, WFP Executive Director, pointed out the 2011 famine in Somalia, where half of a quarter of a million people who died of hunger perished before famine was officially declared.

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