NIGERIA had the highest number of the world’s hungriest people in 2018 according to the findings of a recent report published by the Global Report on Food Crisis which said that the Boko Haram crisis created a major human catastrophe.
According to the report, no fewer than 113m people experienced high levels of food insecurity in the world’s most severe crises in 2018. This 2019 report which was released on yesterday in Brussels, warned that these food crises were primarily driven by conflict and climate-related disasters.
One of the key findings of the report showed that nearly two-thirds of those facing acute hunger were in just eight countries. These countries included Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
“In the 16 states of northern Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, the number of people in crisis and emergency decreased by 40% between June and August 2017 and 2018 to 5.3m. At the peak of the lean season, 3m were acutely food insecure in the three north-eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency where protracted conflict and mass displacement disrupted agriculture, trade, markets and livelihoods, and pushed up food prices.
“The worst food crises in 2018, in order of severity, were Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan, South Sudan and northern Nigeria. These eight countries accounted for two-thirds of the total number of people facing acute food insecurity, amounting to nearly 72m people,” the report read.
Similarly, short-term outlook of food insecurity for 2019 showed that Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan, South Sudan and northern Nigeria are expected to remain among the world’s most severe food crises in 2019. Food and Agriculture Organisation director-general, José da Silva, said in spite of a slight drop in 2018 in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity, the figure is still far too high.
He added: “We must act at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations. To save lives, we also have to save livelihoods.”
World Food Programme executive director, David Beasley, added: “While critical to saving lives and alleviating human suffering, humanitarian assistance does not address the root causes of food crises.” He highlighted the importance of attacking the root causes of hunger, which are conflict, instability and the impact of climatic shocks.
“Boys and girls need to be well-nourished and educated, women need to be truly empowered and rural infrastructure must be strengthened in order to meet that zero hunger goal. Programmes that make a community resilient and more stable will also reduce the number of hungry people,” he added.