The World Food Program says that the number of food deprived people in conflict areas around the world surged to 124 million in 2017.
The Executive Director of the WFP, David Beasley told the UN Security Council that almost 32 million of those acutely hungry people live in four conflict-wracked countries: Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan and northeastern Nigeria, where famine was averted last year.
“The link between hunger and conflict is as strong as it is destructive, conflict leads to food insecurity. Globally,60 percent of the 815 million chronically hungry people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from live in conflict areas.And food insecurity can also stoke instability and tension which trigger violence.” He said
U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said “despite the wildest predictions, famines have become less frequent and less lethal over the past few decades.”
He called this “an amazing achievement,” citing the dramatic expansion in agricultural output and productivity and the global reduction in poverty which has seen people gain purchasing power.
“The remaining risk of famine and hunger is now concentrated in a relatively small number of countries affected by large-scale, severe and protracted conflict, almost 490 million undernourished people — and almost 80 percent of the world’s 155 million stunted children — live in countries affected by conflict,” Lowcock said.
Lowcock said a study released Thursday by the World Food Program, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the European Union confirmed that conflict, often combined with “extreme climate shock and high prices of staple food is the main driver of global food insecurity.”
He urged Security Council members to use their influence over parties to conflicts and to investigate violations of international humanitarian law, which prohibits using starvation as a weapon of war, prohibits attacking hospitals and schools and requires all combatants to allow the delivery of aid.