The UN food agencies, in a new report, warned that acute hunger is set to soar in over 20 countries in the coming months without urgent and scaled-up assistance.
Top on the list of countries that face catastrophic levels of acute hunger include South Sudan and Nigeria, according to the Hunger Hotspots report.
Other countries identified by the report as amongst the worst hunger hotspots are Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Sudan and Syria.
In conflict-hit northern Nigeria, projections for the June-August lean season show that the number of people in emergency level of acute food insecurity is likely to rise to over 1.2 million.
Also, over seven million people across South Sudan are projected to fall into crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity, including over 100,000 at catastrophe level.
‘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’, FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, said in a statement.
‘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, stabilise and even possibly increase local food production slip away’.
For his part, WFP Executive Director, David Beasley, emphasised the need for donors to step up with the $5.5 billion required to tackle the problem.
‘We are seeing a catastrophe unfold before our very eyes. Famine – driven by conflict, and fuelled by climate shocks and the Covid-19 hunger pandemic – is knocking on the door for millions of families’.
‘We urgently need three things to stop millions from dying of starvation: the fighting has to stop, we must be allowed access to vulnerable communities to provide life-saving help, and, above all, we need donors to step up with the US$ 5.5 billion we are asking for this year’.
The report recommended critical short-term actions in each hunger hotspot to address existing and future needs.
Photo source: United Nations Photos