Hunger in Africa soars due to conflict, climate and food prices

NAIROBI – Conflict, climate change and soaring food and fuel prices are pushing about a quarter of Africans to hunger, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday.

Some 346 million people in Africa are facing severe food insecurity, meaning they may have experienced hunger, in their worst crisis since 2017. Last year, children This number is about 286 million.

“The situation of severe food insecurity in many of the countries where we work – and everyone has been affected by armed conflict – is falling,” said Dominik Stillhart, ICRC Global Operations Director. into a famine-like state.”

Two years of conflict in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia has exposed millions of people to a famine-like situation and triggered a hunger crisis in neighboring areas.

The uprisings in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria have also exacerbated food insecurity in West Africa, which is currently facing the worst food crisis on record.

Mr. Stillhart said many of the countries that are resolving conflicts are also among those most severely affected by climate change, including South Sudan and Somalia.

About 90% of Somalia is currently affected by drought, Mr. Stillhart said. If this year’s rains do not materialize, 1.4 million children under the age of five will be severely malnourished, the United Nations’ World Food Program said.

In February alone, the drought killed 650,000 cattle, devastating scores of Somalis where the animals represent income, safety nets and savings.

Meanwhile, global food and fuel prices are skyrocketing, in part due to the war in Ukraine, Stillhart said.

Wheat prices, of which Russia and Ukraine are both top producers, have retreated from all-time highs reached last month Wc1 but are still 70% above April 2021. Corn and oil prices has also increased.

“Our appeal today is really that attention to the plight of the Ukrainian people – which of course is terrible – should not stop the world from looking at other crises,” Mr Stillhart said.

(Reporting by Ayenat Mersie; Editing by Aaron Ross and Chizu Nomiyama)

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