At least 155 million people in 55 countries faced acute hunger in 2020 — 20 million more than 2019, according to figures from the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises, released today.
This marks a five-year high for people facing life-threatening acute food security, accompanied by a breakdown in livelihoods. It comes after aid organizations issued a joint warning about the very real prospect of famine this year.
Published by the Global Network Against Food Crises — an alliance of government agencies and NGOs, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the report highlights the lethal combined impact of conflict, extreme weather and economic shocks, exacerbated, last year, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arif Husain, chief economist at WFP said: “Our worst fears are coming true. Needs are nowhere near subsiding — acute hunger is up, chronic hunger is up and extreme poverty is up. Million remains on the verge of famine due to conflict. There is no end in sight unless we resolve conflict. Till then, without immediate action, millions will starve — the window to avert famine is closing fast.”
In a joint statement, the EU, USAID, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and WFP, said: “The outlook for 2021 and beyond is grim.”
In the 55 food crises covered by the report, over 75 million children aged under 5 suffered stunting — being too short for their age, while 15 million children suffered wasting.
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