More than 280 million people affected: food insecurity worsens worldwide in 2023

More than 280 million people affected: food insecurity worsens worldwide in 2023

Selon le rapport, les situations de conflit ou d'insécurité sont devenues en 2023 la principale cause d'insécurité alimentaire aiguë. MAXPPP – Chris Huby/Le Pictorium

Hunger intensified worldwide in 2023, with almost 282 million people in 59 countries facing acute food insecurity as a result of conflict, particularly in Gaza and Sudan, but also extreme weather events and economic shocks, warned 16 UN and humanitarian organizations on Wednesday.

This is 24 million more than in 2022, details the latest global report on food crises from the Food Security Information Network (FSIN), for which the outlook remains ' quot;dark" for the current year.

This is also the fifth consecutive year that the number of people experiencing food insecurity has increased.

This worsening is partly due to an expansion of the areas covered by the report. This follows "new or intensified shocks" as well as "a marked deterioration in key food crisis contexts such as Sudan and the Gaza Strip", Fleur Wouterse, deputy director of the emergency and resilience office at the United Nations agricultural agency FAO, explains to AFP.

Some 700,000 people were on the brink of famine in 2023, including 600,000 in Gaza. A figure which has since risen further in the Palestinian territory undermined by hunger and war, to 1.1 million people.

From 108 to 282 million

Since the launch of this report in 2016 by the Global Network against Food Crises, an alliance bringing together UN organizations, the European Union, the United States and humanitarian organizations, & quot;the number of people experiencing food insecurity increased from 108 million to 282 million, while the prevalence (the share of the population affected within the areas concerned, Editor's note) went from 11% to 22%", indicates Fleur Wouterse.

The food crisis has continued since then for Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Syria and Yemen, she notes. .

"In a world of abundance, children die of hunger. Wars, climate chaos and the cost of living crisis – combined with inadequate action – translate into nearly 300 million people facing an acute food crisis in 2023", deplores United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the foreword to the report by calling for an increase in State contributions.

Aid distribution costs have increased

"We all know why hunger is increasing in many parts of the world, and we know the solutions. But without the resources and political will to implement them, we will continue on our current path“, warned the director of the World Food Program (WFP), Cindy McCain, during an online presentation of the report.

"The global food crisis is fundamentally a moral crisis", reacted the NGO Oxfam in a press release.

"It is unforgivable that more than 281 million people suffer from acute hunger while the world's richest continue to make extraordinary profits, including corporations aerospace and defense industries that contribute to fueling conflicts, the main cause of hunger", writes Oxfam.

Situations of conflict or insecurity in first place

For 2024, the evolution "will depend on the cessation of hostilities", notes Fleur Wouterse. "As soon as humanitarian access" in Gaza and Sudan will be possible, aid could for example "rapidly" there to alleviate the food crisis, she said.

According to her, there are also many uncertainties concerning Haiti, "where in the Artibonite valley, the country's breadbasket, armed groups seized agricultural land and stole crops". The El Niño weather phenomenon could also "lead to severe drought in West Africa and Southern Africa", adds the one in charge.

According to the report, situations of conflict or insecurity have become in 2023 the main cause of acute food insecurity in 20 countries or territories, where 135 million people have it suffered. Next come economic shocks (main cause for 75 million people in 21 countries) and extreme climatic events such as floods or droughts (72 million people in 18 countries).

Positive signal: the situation has improved in 2023 in 17 countries, in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Ukraine for example. "If we intervene by supporting agriculture, it is possible to get populations out of food insecurity&quot ;, notes Fleur Wouterse.

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