The risk of conflict-induced famine and widespread food insecurity is upon us, according to the United Nations. Today, 345 million people in 80 countries are “marching towards starvation.”
“We can clearly see how conflict is causing hunger across the world,” said U.S. Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield. “Four areas in particular are now projected to face widespread and catastrophic levels of food insecurity: Ethiopia, northeast Nigeria, Yemen, and South Sudan.”
“In Ethiopia, 20 million people are facing food insecurity. … Farms have been damaged and looted. Harvests in Tigray, for example, produced half their typical output last year. And supply lines have been severely disrupted.”
“We call on the Government of Ethiopia, the Tigrayan authorities, and all parties to allow unhindered delivery of humanitarian relief,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield.
In northeast Nigeria, over four million people will experience high levels of food insecurity.
“The severity in some areas is the highest we’ve seen in almost a decade. Farmers are worried about being attacked. They’re abandoning their farms. That means fewer farms and fewer crops, and more displacement and more suffering.”
“In Yemen, the truce has brought some relief to civilians, but it has not been enough to reverse one of the world’s most desperate humanitarian crises,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “Over 19 million are facing food insecurity.”
In South Sudan, over 60 percent of the population will experience crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity.
“Almost eight million people in a country that is rich in resources. We call on the government of South Sudan to issue a decree mandating the free, unimpeded, and unhindered movement of humanitarian assistance and protection for humanitarian workers. It is time for all parties to end hostilities.”
Finally, parts of Somalia are teetering on the edge of famine.
“For our part, since February, the United States has provided over $5.7 billion in humanitarian assistance to food security operations. But we know we can’t do this alone and we know it’s not enough,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “We will continue to use every diplomatic tool in our arsenal to tackle the food insecurity crisis head on. And we call on every other country to do the same. While the challenge can feel overwhelming, we must remain focused, and we must stop famine before it happens.”