In a joint report published on the 6th of June by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), shows stark warnings of multiple looming food crises in “hunger hotspots” across the world’s poorest and most fragile regions.

Catastrophic climate events or “Climate Shocks” like droughts, flooding, hurricanes, and cyclones decimate agriculture and livestock and displace populations. These events are increasing in number and scale and are affecting the world’s most fragile nations already suffering from extreme poverty and political violence.

For a fourth consecutive year, East Africa has seen very little rainfall causing severe disruption in food supplies. In this region Somalia is a country that has faced war and poverty for decades, and has reported 448 deaths from malnutrition so far this year.

“Somalia is in danger of entering an unprecedented fifth consecutive failed rainy season, meaning hundreds of thousands of people face the risk of famine. Famine cost the lives of 260,000 Somalis in 2010-2011. This cannot be allowed to happen again in 2022.” said Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

Neighboring Kenya, a country that usually fairs better than its neighbors and a new addition to this list, is also trying to prevent famine.

Global geopolitics and the COVID-19 pandemic were also mentioned in the report. The pandemic and the recent war in Ukraine have affected global food and energy markets. The poorest communities are the hardest hit, with their governments unable to fund social safety nets to guarantee the basic needs for human survival.

Most countries mentioned by the UN agencies are already hotbeds for conflict and political violence. Afghanistan, a country that has experienced war and violence for decades, now has little capability to confront poverty, famine, and environmental disasters.

“Conditions now are much worse than during the Arab Spring in 2011 and 2007-2008 food price crisis when 48 countries were rocked by political unrest, riots and protests”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. He also expressed the need to act fast before the situation gets out of control.

When asked, the Global Greens, a federation of Green Parties representing members from countries mentioned in the report, said that “consistent with the climate crisis, those who bear the least responsibility for the situation will bear the biggest burden. Further, in the 21st century it should be unacceptable for anyone to go hungry, let alone that number increasing. Finally, it’s possible to build food systems that work for all people, protect nature, and are resilient to crises. Strong action must be taken now”.

Dany Moudallal

Political Science and History Undergraduate at the University of Montreal.

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