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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Your support can help those hardest hit by this crisis.