A boy in Aweil, South Sudan, where food insecurity rates are very high.
Photo: ©FAO/Stefanie Glinski

More than 100 million people are facing acute hunger

2018 saw a slight drop in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity, but 113 million people are still experiencing acute food crises, compared to 124 million people in 2017.

Acute hunger is still affecting over 100 million people worldwide, while countries in Africa remained disproportionally affected. The Global Report on Food Crisis, jointly presented by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in April 2019, finds that around 113 million people in 53 countries experienced acute food insecurity in 2018, compared to 124 million in 2017. The report is produced each year by the Global Network Against Food Crises, which is made up of international humanitarian and development partners. 

The number of people in the world facing food crises has remained well over 100 million in the last three years, and the number of countries affected has risen. Moreover, an additional 143 million people in another 42 countries are just one step away from facing acute hunger.

Nearly two-thirds of the people confronted with acute hunger are in just eight countries, and count nearly 72 million people: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In 17 countries, acute hunger either remained the same or increased.

Conflict and insecurity are the key drivers of hunger

The slight decrease in the number of people facing acute food insecurity between 2017 and 2018 is largely due to changes in climate shocks. A number of highly exposed countries did not experience the intensity of climate-related shocks and stressors they had experienced in 2017 when they variously faced severe drought, flooding, rains, and temperature rises brought on by the El Niño of 2015-16. This includes countries in southern and eastern Africa, the Horn of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pacific region.

The key drivers of  acute hunger in 2018 remained conflict and insecurity. Some 74 million of the people facing acute hunger were located in countries and territories affected by conflict or insecurity, most of them in Africa and in Western Asia/Middle East. Climate and natural disasters pushed another 29 million people into situations of acute food insecurity in 2018, mostly in Africa. Economic shocks were the primary driver of acute food insecurity for 10.2 million people, mainly in Burundi, the Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Acting at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus

The report highlights the need for strengthened cooperation between humanitarian, development and peace actors to reverse and prevent food crises. “We must act at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations“, said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at the launch event in early February 2019.

The report's findings are a powerful call for strengthened cooperation that links together prevention, preparedness and response to address urgent humanitarian needs and root causes, which include climate change, economic shocks, conflict and displacement. It further highlights the need for a unified approach and action across the humanitarian and development dimensions of food crises, and for more investment in conflict mitigation and sustainable peace.

(FAO/WFP/ile)

More information at the Global Report on Food Crisis Website:
www.fsinplatform.org/global-report-food-crises-2019