Nearly 282 Million People Faced Acute Hunger In 2023 – Report

Food insecurity will grow globally in 2023, with an estimated 282 million people suffering from severe hunger as a result of hostilities, mainly in Gaza and Sudan, according to UN agencies and development organizations.

Extreme weather events and economic shocks also contributed to the surge in the number of people facing acute food insecurity, which increased by 24 million people from 2022, according to the Food Security Information Network’s (FSIN) most recent worldwide report on food crises.

The assessment, which labeled the global outlook “bleak” for this year, was created for an international alliance that includes UN agencies, the European Union, and governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The number of individuals facing acute food insecurity increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2023, defined as when populations confront food scarcity that threatens their lives or livelihoods, regardless of the cause or duration.

The report’s extended geographic coverage, as well as deteriorating conditions in 12 nations, contributed significantly to the increase last year.

More geographical areas faced “new or intensified shocks,” while critical food crisis contexts such as Sudan and the Gaza Strip deteriorated significantly, according to Fleur Wouterse, deputy head of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) emergencies office.

Last year, around 700,000 people, including 600,000 in Gaza, were on the verge of hunger; this figure has since risen to 1.1 million in the war-torn Palestinian enclave.

Children starving

Since the Global Food Crisis Network’s initial study in 2016, the number of food-insecure people has increased from 108 million to 282 million, according to Wouterse.

Meanwhile, the proportion of the people affected in the afflicted districts has risen from 11% to 22%, she said.

Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Syria, and Yemen are all experiencing protracted serious food crises.

“In a world of plenty, children are starving to death,” wrote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the report’s foreword.

“War, climate chaos and a cost-of-living crisis — combined with inadequate action — mean that almost 300 million people faced acute food crisis in 2023.”

“Funding is not keeping pace with need,” he added.

This is especially true as the cost of giving aid has increased.

Progress in 2024 will be dependent on the cessation of conflicts, according to Wouterse, who emphasized that help may “rapidly” ameliorate the problem in Gaza or Sudan, for example, provided humanitarian access to those countries is restored.

Floods and droughts

Worsening conditions in Haiti were caused by political instability and lowered agricultural production, “where armed groups have seized agricultural land and stolen crops,” according to Wouterse.

El Nino weather phenomena might also cause catastrophic drought in West and Southern Africa, she said.

According to the research, violence and insecurity have become the leading causes of acute hunger in 20 countries or territories, affecting 135 million people.

Extreme weather catastrophes, such as floods or droughts, were the primary cause of acute food insecurity for 72 million people in 18 countries, while economic shocks drove 75 million people into this scenario in 21 nations.

“Decreasing global food prices did not transmit to low-income, import-dependent countries,” said the report.

At the same time, high debt levels “limited government options to mitigate the effects of high prices”.

On a good side, the situation improved in 17 nations in 2023, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine, according to the report.

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