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World Hunger: five facts you need to know

The world is in the grip of an unprecedented global food crisis. Fifty million people are on the brink of famine. In communities and countries where people were already struggling to find food as a result of climate shocks, conflict and COVID, the war in Ukraine has pushed them to breaking point.

Here are five facts about world hunger you need to know

1. This is a severe and worsening crisis

Right now, fifty million people are on the brink of famine due to conflict and the changing climate. Without urgent action, this hunger crisis will kill more people annually than the entire COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated seven million people in Somalia alone are likely to face acute food insecurity between June and September this year. There have been 6.3 million COVID deaths recorded worldwide.

"This is a generational crisis - we have not seen the breadth and scale of this sort of hunger crisis for decades. And once again, as so often is the case for big global injustices, the main drivers for this situation are completely outside of the control of the families being hit the hardest. Rather than stand back and simply lament the situation - we can and must do something to respond." - Matthew Maury, Tearfund CEO.

2. Children are suffering the most

Almost eight million children under five are at risk of death from severe wasting unless they receive immediate therapeutic food and care, and that number is rising by the minute.

Entire classrooms are empty because students are too hungry to go to school, and girls are often the first to be taken out of school and the last to eat when food runs low. There have even been reports of families being forced into early and forced child marriage for their daughters for survival.

3. Conflict, global food supply and climate change are some of the main drivers for this world hunger

Conflict is the most powerful driver of the food crisis globally, responsible for the largest share of people facing life-threatening hunger (65%). From Yemen to South Sudan, Mozambique and Afghanistan, protracted fighting has destroyed livelihoods and forced families to flee their homes.

The war in Ukraine has also led to prices skyrocketing, with the cost of basic food supplies like cooking oil and flour doubling in some countries. Places where Tearfund is working, including Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan, depend heavily on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia, which account for 40-90% of supplies. In these countries, families rely on wheat to meet their daily needs.

The climate crisis has changed weather patterns in the region: the UN has warned that across the Horn of Africa, the rainy season of March to May 2022 is likely to have been the driest on record.

As one of Tearfund’s partners shares: “There is not sufficient rain and communities have missed seasonal crops for at least the last four consecutive seasons. The most vulnerable groups like children under five years, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and people with chronic illnesses are in a serious condition. Many of them have been malnourished.”

4. Tearfund’s partners are working in seven countries hardest hit by this hunger crisis

Tearfund’s partners are already actively supporting communities where this hunger crisis is most severe, including in Afghanistan, Yemen, Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia. Our long term focus on supporting climate resilient agriculture, food and livelihoods projects and an acute focus on food security is making a real and lasting impact.

Read Caterina’s story and learn more about our work with Sudan Evangelical Mission in South Sudan.

5. Here are five ways you can help end world hunger today

It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and far removed from the issue of world hunger. But for each of us, there are some practical ways we can make a difference. Here we explore five ways (Learn, Pray, Give, Speak Out and Spread the Word) to respond that are accessible for most people and will make a real difference.

  • Learn. Before we can even think about responding ourselves or inviting others to respond, we need to take time to learn more about this current hunger crisis and what the driving factors are.
  • Pray. Praying for such a vast crisis can feel overwhelming, but prayer is powerful and can be part of the solution.
  • Speak out. You can show your support by writing to your MP and asking them to #HelpFightFamine
  • Give. Tearfund’s partners are supporting communities where this hunger crisis is most severe, but they need your support to continue this work.
  • Spread the word. Our Church Kit will provide you with all you need to spread the word and advocate for those most impacted around the world.

Hunger Crisis Appeal

Your support can help those hardest hit by this crisis.

Can provide life-saving health and nutrition care for children at risk of malnutrition.

Can provide seeds, tools and training in sustainable agriculture for farmers groups.

Can help families better provide for themselves with strengthened livelihoods.

Can provide immediate assistance and long-term support for communities at risk of disaster.