The number of people suffering from hunger worldwide rose further in 2021 due to conflict, economic crises and extreme weather, according to a joint report issued by UN and EU Wednesday.
The report showed that food security was at acute risk for 193 million people in 53 countries in 2021, according to the report, a jump of almost 40 million people compared to the 2020 figure.
Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Syria and Nigeria were among the reasons why the number of people facing hunger has been rising steadily over the past few years.
The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing crisis only exacerbated the situation, the report said.
Weather extremes in several African countries have likewise led to severe food shortages, the two bodies said.
According to the report, some 570,000 people in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Southern Madagascar and Yemen were at risk of starvation in 2021.
The United Nations called for additional financial support as well as stronger political will to halt the increasing numbers of people threatened by hunger globally.
The problem was worst in rural areas, the report said, with some two-thirds of people whose food security was at risk of living in remote regions.
This thereby helped in prompting calls for greater investment in agriculture.
As the report focuses on 2021, it made no mention of Russia’s war on Ukraine and its likely consequences for global food chains.
However, concerns were growing that countries already facing hunger crises would suffer further as a result of Moscow’s attacks on its neighbour, as many depend on imports and food prices are rising.
Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar import most of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, the UN report said.
The organisations called for more food to be grown locally in the affected countries.
The report was created by the Global Network against Food Crises, an alliance established by the EU, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, and the World Food Programme, WFP, in 2016.