Acute food insecurity soars due to conflict, extreme weather events and rising food prices
Rome – In 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is seeking $1.9 billion to save the lives and livelihoods of some of those most at risk of acute food insecurity , as acute food insecurity continues to worsen around the world.
The announcement was made as part of the broader UN humanitarian appeal launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at a special event in Geneva today.
With less than 4 percent of the $51.5 billion required for all appeals for 2023, FAO can provide urgent livelihoods assistance to ensure 48 million people have a regular supply of nutritious food. Through cash, crop and vegetable seed packets, livestock feed, animal health campaigns, improvements to vital infrastructure such as irrigation systems and markets, FAO can ensure that families and communities in the most remote and conflict-affected areas are able to feed themselves and lay the foundations for resilience to future shocks.
In 2022, FAO’s emergency assistance to drought-affected communities in the Horn of Africa protected vital livestock assets, ensuring that 4.4 million children have access to milk every day, and led to the production of over 100,000 tonnes of grain and provided over 1.5 million people with money to buy food, healthcare and other essentials.
FAO’s interventions aim above all to meet the needs and priorities of affected communities who are predominantly farmers, fishers, pastoralists and foresters – enabling them to stay at home where it is safe, to support themselves needs and lead their own future recovery.
Main drivers of acute food insecurity
Extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the proliferation of other conflicts, followed by growing uncertainty around global food and agriculture markets, are pushing the food insecurity to new heights. As 2022 draws to a close, nearly one million people face the immediate threat of famine, nearly double the number in 2021. Globally, 222 million people are experiencing high acute food insecurity, including nearly one in five struggle to access enough food. food to survive the day.
In the Horn of Africa alone, grappling with an unprecedented drought – an event not seen in 40 years – between 23 and 26 million people are expected to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, and acute food insecurity is expected continue to intensify by February 2023 due to an unprecedented sixth consecutive drought season.
The cost of food has been rising steadily since the onset of COVID-19, with international food prices already at their highest level in a decade before the war in Ukraine sent new shockwaves through the system. While international staple food prices have recently fallen, consumer prices remain high with significant implications for purchasing power and food access among the poorest.
Conflicts and political instability continue to ravage lives and livelihoods across the world, forcing people to flee their homes and abandon their farms, boats, livestock, pushing them into misery and utter dependency. with outside help.
FAO strengthens response to crises and emergencies
FAO has stepped up its efforts to reach those most in need throughout 2022 – helping 30 million people with urgent support, focusing on rural people and those for whom agriculture represents their very survival .
In Afghanistan alone, FAO expects to reach 9 million people by the end of the year, about half of the acutely food insecure rural population. Some 3.6 million people will benefit from the ongoing winter wheat distribution, which will be completed by December.
In Somalia, more than $24 million in cash, as well as livelihood assistance, was provided to rural communities most at risk of famine, while more than 11 million head of cattle received feed, water and basic health care.
In Ukraine, in addition to providing emergency agricultural support to farmers, such as seed potatoes, vegetable seeds and cash assistance, FAO is stepping up its efforts to protect existing and future crops and reserves. food. FAO provided massive capacity to store up to 6 million tonnes of cereals (about 30 percent of national needs). This support is crucial to ensure that grain is properly stored and that farmers are able to sell and export grain when needed.
Agriculture in emergencies remains massively underfunded
Agriculture is a frontline humanitarian response and should be considered as such in all humanitarian appeals. Urgent agricultural interventions, especially when combined with cash and food assistance, have huge impacts on food availability, nutrition and displacement, significantly reducing other humanitarian costs.
For example, for a cost of just $220, winter wheat parcels distributed in Afghanistan will allow a family to produce enough food to meet their annual grain needs and leave a surplus to sell.
In 2022, FAO received only 43 percent of funds requested under humanitarian response plans, but this hides a huge imbalance in funding, with appeals for Afghanistan being fully funded while those for Nigeria and the Syrian Arab Republic barely exceeded 10 percent of requirements.
Today’s event in Geneva was one of three sequential launches to showcase the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2023, followed by events in Addis Ababa in partnership with the African Union and in Riyadh in partnership with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center – KS Relief.
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