49 Million at Risk of Famine in World Hunger ‘Catastrophe,’ UN Warns

Jun 15, 2022

Global Food Insecurity

Some 49 million have been driven to the brink of famine, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says. Climate change, the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and global supply chain woes have combined to create a global hunger “catastrophe,” the WFP warns.

As always, the poorest countries have suffered the most. In Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, for example, somebody likely dies of hunger every 48 seconds. That's according to a report from Oxfam and Save the Children. In Afghanistan, the WFP says, some 37 million people don't have enough to eat any given day. That’s 92% of the country’s population.

Aid sources have been running dry, the WFP says. Without more donations, it says, the hunger crisis will worsen. The agency urged the world’s richest people to “step up” to help those suffering from hunger. The WFP just cut off food aid to 1.7 million hungry people in South Sudan. It says it would need $426 million in the next six months in donations to prevent an “explosive situation'' in the country.

Climate change has brought extreme weather. Crops have dried up in droughts. They've been wiped out by floods and other natural disasters. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cut off many of the exports of wheat. That's driven up prices. The wheat accounts for a fifth of all calories consumed by humans, the WFP says. The pandemic and supply chain disruptions have raised costs for fuel, fertilizer, and shipping. 

In Afghanistan, one mother says: “My children now attend school on one day and then work on the streets the next to help us afford food. We feel helpless.” 

According to the infographic, which country has the highest number of people without enough food to eat? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. Afghanistan
b. Somalia
c. Niger
d. Mali
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