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World Hunger Crisis ‘Exploded’ After Soaring 25% Ahead of Ukraine War

Following a 25 per cent surge in food insecurity last year, the global hunger crisis is “booming” as the war in Ukraine has led to further increases in the prices of essential staples. The comments by the WFP’s chief economist come as the Global Network for Response to Food Crises warned that hunger is expected to “further worsen” this year.

A measure of world food prices surged to record levels as the war in Ukraine disrupted harvests and exports of one of the world’s largest suppliers of grains and vegetable oils. “The world is exploding with food insecurity,” Arif Hussein of the World Food Programme said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The network earlier said that by 2021, nearly 193 million people in 53 countries would experience severe food insecurity, meaning their lack of meals poses a direct threat to their lives or livelihoods. The figure is up from 155 million people in 55 countries last year and six years after the report began. Conflicts in countries such as Ethiopia and Afghanistan have exacerbated the crisis there.

The economic shock from the Covid-19 pandemic has limited access to food in nearly two countries, the United Nations said in a report. Extreme weather, such as the severe drought in Madagascar, also exacerbates the problem.
A measure of world food prices has surged by about 75 per cent since mid-2020, surpassing levels seen in 2008 and 2011, leading to a global food crisis that has weighed on governments from Sri Lanka to Peru.

The invasion of Ukraine has also sparked a wave of protectionism, as some exporters restricted crop sales overseas to secure local supplies. It has also hampered the global economic recovery from the pandemic. Early data already suggest that the food crisis is worsening. Some 180 million people will face hunger this year in the 41 countries surveyed last year and Cape Verde.

While projections are not yet available for the remaining 12 countries, the number of hungry people has increased by 5 million in countries where projections have been made. The Food Crisis Network was established in 2016 by the European Union, WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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