Conflict, regional instability and climate change are some of the biggest drivers of hunger in the world today, according to David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).
In his address to mark the World Food Day, Beasley said that the number of chronically hungry people worldwide hit 821 million in 2018, up from 777 million three years earlier.
“Ten out of the thirteen largest hunger crises in the world are conflict-driven, and 60 per cent of the people who are food insecure live in conflict zones.1 Hunger fuels longstanding grievances and disputes over land, livestock and other assets,” he said.
The WFP chief noted that the country’s that are most in danger of famine are Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as Nigeria’s northeast region. The three countries and region have been dogged by conflict for years, forcing tens of millions to flee their homes.
The disruption of lives impedes the production of food, causing famine and hunger.
Beasley in his address also noted that hunger could also lead to more fighting in other instances.
“Food security means fewer community tensions, less violent extremism and more mutual co-operation. While hungry people are not necessarily violent, it is clear that persistent hunger creates the kind of instability that leads to more conflict,” he said.
In addition to fuelling conflict, food insecurity is also seen as a big contributor to global migration of persons.
Beasley said that for every 1 per cent increase in hunger there is a nearly 2 per cent increase in migration.
World Food Day is celebrated each year on October 16 to promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.