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Shocking: 1 in 5 People Facing Critical Hunger Crisis in 59 Countries, startling report released by FAO

In a shocking revelation, the latest Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) has uncovered a harrowing reality: nearly 282 million people across 59 countries and territories faced severe hunger in 2023, marking a staggering increase of 24 million from the previous year. This dramatic surge is attributed to heightened coverage of food crisis contexts and a concerning deterioration in food security, notably in regions like the Gaza Strip and Sudan.

For the fourth consecutive year, approximately 22 percent of those assessed grappled with acute food insecurity, surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels by a significant margin.

Children and women bear the brunt of this crisis, with over 36 million children under the age of 5 suffering from acute malnutrition across 32 countries. The situation worsened in 2023, particularly among individuals displaced due to conflicts and disasters.

Urgent pleas for action have been echoed by the Global Network Against Food Crises, advocating for a comprehensive approach that integrates peace, prevention, and development strategies alongside emergency efforts to combat acute hunger.

"This crisis demands an immediate response. Utilizing the data from this report to overhaul food systems and tackle the root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition is paramount," emphasized António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

Protracted Hunger Crisis

Thirty-six countries have consistently grappled with acute hunger since 2016, representing a staggering 80 percent of the world's most food-insecure populations.

In 2023, a concerning uptick was observed, with an additional 1 million people facing Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity across 39 countries. The most significant surge was recorded in Sudan.

Furthermore, over 705,000 individuals found themselves at the Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5) level of food insecurity, at risk of starvation - the highest number recorded in the GRFC's history, surging fourfold since 2016. The dire situation in the Gaza Strip accounts for 80 percent of those on the brink of famine, alongside regions like South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Somalia, and Mali.

Root Causes and Drivers

Intensifying conflict, economic shocks, and extreme weather events continue to exacerbate acute food insecurity globally. Conflict remains the primary driver, affecting 20 countries and nearly 135 million people, with Sudan experiencing the most significant deterioration.

Extreme weather events have impacted 18 countries, exposing over 77 million individuals to acute food insecurity. Economic shocks have also played a significant role, affecting 21 countries where approximately 75 million people face high levels of food insecurity.

Urgent Call to Action

Addressing the persistent food crises necessitates urgent long-term investment in transforming food systems and enhancing agricultural and rural development. Peace-building and prevention efforts must be integrated to break the cycle of hunger.

The international community must fulfill bold commitments made through initiatives like the G7 and G20 to combat rising food insecurity. The Global Network Against Food Crises pledges to leverage its expertise to bolster global initiatives and deliver tangible impact for those affected by food crises.

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