Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
The United Nations says more than a quarter-billion people worldwide faced a shortage of food in the last year.
According to a report from the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Global Report on Food Crises, a joint effort of the European Union and United Nations, 258 million people in 58 countries faced acute food insecurity in 2022, a major jump from the 193 million in 51 nations who faced the same in 2021.
This also marked the fourth consecutive year in which the food insecurity numbers worsened.
“More than a quarter of a billion people are now facing acute levels of hunger, and some are on the brink of starvation. That’s unconscionable,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote in the forward of the report.
Researchers blamed several factors on the deterioration of food availability: the war in Ukraine, the lingering fallout from COVID-19, climate change, and other global conflicts.
“[We] are moving in the wrong direction,” Guterres wrote. “Conflicts and mass displacement continue to drive global hunger. Rising poverty, deepening inequalities, rampant underdevelopment, the climate crisis and natural disasters also contribute to food insecurity.
“As always, it is the most vulnerable who bear the brunt of this failure, facing soaring food prices that were aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite some declines, are still above 2019 levels due to the war in Ukraine.”
Another major component in the rise in want of food is inflation. In its coverage, Fox News quoted a U.N. expert who explained that the rise in the cost of food in more economically secure nations necessarily impacts the cost in poorer nations that import most of their food from the first world.
The experts behind the report are urging more funding, but also a reimagining of how food assistance is addressed in years to come. Broadly speaking, the WFP wants to dedicate financial resources toward programs that predict and prevent, rather than react to, future food shortages.
“This crisis demands fundamental, systemic change,” Guterres wrote. “This report makes clear that progress is possible. We have the data and know-how to build a more resilient, inclusive, sustainable world where hunger has no home — including through stronger food systems, and massive investments in food security and improved nutrition for all people, no matter where they live.
“With collective action and a commitment to change, we can ensure that every person, everywhere, has access to the most basic of human needs: food and nutrition.”