AP : A global hunger crisis has left more than 700 million people not knowing when or if they will eat again, and demand for food is rising relentlessly while humanitarian funding is drying up, the head of the United Nations food agency said Thursday.
World Food Program Executive Director Cindy McCain told the UN Security Council that because of the lack of funding, the agency has been forced to cut food rations for millions of people, and “more cuts are on the way.”
“We are now living with a series of concurrent and long-term crises that will continue to fuel global humanitarian needs,” she said.
“This is the humanitarian community’s new reality – our new normal – and we will be dealing with the fallout for years to come.”
The WFP chief, the widow of the late US senator John McCain, said the agency estimates that nearly 47 million people in over 50 countries are just one step from famine – and a staggering 45 million children under the age of five are now estimated to suffer from acute malnutrition.
According to WFP estimates from 79 countries where the Rome-based agency operates, up to 783 million people – one in 10 of the world’s population – still go to bed hungry every night.
More than 345 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity this year, an increase of almost 200 million people from early 2021 before the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency said.
At the root of the soaring numbers, WFP said, is “a deadly combination of conflict, economic shocks, climate extremes and soaring fertilizer prices.”
The economic fallout from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have pushed food prices out of the reach of millions of people across the world at the same time that high fertilizer prices have caused falling production of maize, rice, soybeans and wheat, the agency said.
“Our collective challenge is to ramp up the ambitious, multi-sectoral partnerships that will enable us to tackle hunger and poverty effectively, and reduce humanitarian needs over the long-term,” McCain urged business leaders at the council meeting focusing on humanitarian public-private partnerships.
The aim is not just financing, but also finding innovative solutions to help the world’s neediest.