UN Agencies Warn of Deepening Food Crisis

 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have issued a dire warning regarding the worsening situation of acute food insecurity in 18 hunger hotspots across 22 countries and territories, including 2 regional clusters. This alarming trend is expected to continue from November 2023 to April 2024.

Among these hotspots, Burkina Faso, Mali, South Sudan, and Sudan remain at the highest concern level. Palestine has been added to this list due to a severe escalation of conflict in October 2023. These regions have populations already facing or projected to face starvation (Catastrophe, Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC]/Cadre Harmonisé [CH] Phase 5) or are at risk of deteriorating to catastrophic conditions. These are the areas that demand immediate and urgent attention.


Additionally, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Pakistan, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Yemen are considered hotspots of very high concern. These regions have a substantial number of people facing or projected to face critical levels of acute food insecurity, and the drivers of this crisis are expected to intensify in the coming months.

Since the May 2023 report, Chad, Djibouti, the Niger, Palestine, and Zimbabwe have been added to the list of hunger hotspot countries, while countries in the Dry Corridor of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and Malawi remain as hunger hotspots. It’s important to note that these situations represent significant deteriorations in hunger, but they do not encompass all countries and territories with high levels of acute food insecurity.


The report highlights that armed violence, especially the increase in civilian targeting, is contributing to the global displacement crisis. The situation in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing instability in the Sahel region are expected to worsen humanitarian conditions. The withdrawal of peacekeeping missions could lead to security voids and increased non‐state armed group (NSAG) activities, further hindering humanitarian efforts.

The global economic outlook for 2024 is sluggish, and although international food prices are declining, they remain high. Weather extremes, such as El Niño conditions, are impacting agricultural production and food prices in various regions.

Urgent and scaled-up assistance is needed in all 18 hunger hotspots to protect livelihoods and increase access to food. Humanitarian actions are vital in preventing further starvation and death, but challenges to humanitarian access persist, including insecurity and bureaucratic impediments.

The report provides country-specific recommendations for emergency responses and anticipatory actions to address existing humanitarian needs and protect vulnerable populations.


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