In a new report issued by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), acute hunger is set to soar in over 20 countries in the coming months and over 34 million people are at risk of starvation.
Most of the hotspots identified in the report are in Africa, but some are in other regions, from Afghanistan in Asia, Syria, and Lebanon in the Middle East, and Haiti in Latin America and the Caribbean. Accordingly, the key drivers of food insecurity are climate shocks and economic risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, and, in some places, natural hazards.
In conflict-hit northern Nigeria, projections for the June-August lean season show that the number of people in an emergency level of acute food insecurity is likely to almost double – to over 1.2 million – since the same period last year. In the next six months, food and nutrition insecurity is set to rise considerably in northern Nigeria with some 13 million people affected unless food and livelihood assistance is scaled up.
“The magnitude of suffering is alarming. It is incumbent upon all of us to act now and to act fast to save lives, safeguard livelihoods and prevent the worst situation. In many regions, the planting season has just started or is about to start. We must run against the clock and not let this opportunity to protect, stabilize, and even possibly increase local food production slip away,” urged FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.