Conflict, Climate shock and COVID-19 pushes world at to higher risk of famine; WFP

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has issued a warning that the world is no longer on its way to achieving Zero Hunger. According to the United Nations, progress has slowed or reversed, and more than 270 million people are expected to be acutely food insecure or at high risk of becoming so by 2021.

Conflict, economic shocks, natural catastrophes, and the socio-economic impact from COVID-19 caused the high risk. According to World Food Programme (WFP), to address and avoid hunger for millions of people and to avert catastrophic outcomes, such as large-scale food assistance cuts for refugees and other vulnerable people, fast action and immediate support are required.

“The situation in 2021 is not business as usual, and it’s getting worse. We are extremely concerned about the world’s most vulnerable people as food prices continue to rise globally,” WFP said.

WFP’s recent Global Operational Response Plan indicated that the number of people on the verge of starvation has increased from 34 million in January to 41 million in June across 43 countries, and 584,000 people are likely to face famine-like conditions in Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan, and Yemen in 2021. They, too, will face starvation unless they receive prompt emergency food help, as even a minor setback will send them over the edge into famine. WFP is undertaking the biggest operation in its history targeting 139 million people this year.

Despite rising operating needs, the worldwide contribution forecast for 2021 only meets 55 percent of WFP’s current operational needs of $15.3 billion. WFP still needs $4.5 billion in the next six months to address needs from June to November 2021.

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