Hunger Hotspots and early warnings on acute food insecurity

Blog of Liliana Mosca, SI UN Representative to the FAO, Rome 

The FAO-WFP last report: Hunger Hotspots and early warnings on acute food insecurity, June to November 2023 outlook

According to the report ‘Hunger Hotspots FAO‑WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity”” jointly published on May 29, by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), acute food insecurity is set to increase in magnitude and severity in 18 hunger “Hotspots” across a total of 22 countries.

Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mali and the Sudan have been elevated to the highest alert level to join Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and Syria are also of great concern, just as they were in 2022 – however, in 2023, the alert has also been extended to Myanmar. Lebanon was also added to the list of hotspots, thus joining Malawi and El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in Central America.

The report – ‘Hunger Hotspots” – calls for urgent humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods and prevent starvation and death of the large numbers of people who are facing critical and acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening factors that are expected to further intensify threats to survival in the coming months.

“If we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind, in today’s risk landscape business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option in today’s risk landscape if we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind.” said QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General.

“We need to provide immediate time-sensitive agricultural interventions to pull people from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives, and provide long-term solutions to address the root causes of food insecurity. Investing in disaster risk reduction in the agriculture sector can unlock significant resilience dividends and must be scaled up,” he added.

“Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severity of the hunger they face is worse than ever,” said Cindy McCain, WFP’s Executive Director.

“This report makes it clear: we must act now to save lives, help people adapt to a changing climate, and ultimately prevent famine. If we don’t, the results will be catastrophic,” McCain warned.

To avert a further deterioration of acute hunger and malnutrition, the report provides concrete country-specific recommendations on priorities for immediate emergency response to save lives, prevent famine and protect livelihoods, as well as anticipatory action. Humanitarian action will be critical in preventing starvation and death — particularly in the highest alert hotspots, but the report notes how humanitarian access is constrained by insecurity, bureaucratic barriers, and movement restrictions — posing a major challenge to humanitarian responders around the globe.

The report also stresses the importance of strengthening anticipatory action in humanitarian and development assistance — ensuring predictable hazards do not become full-blown humanitarian disasters.



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