'One step away from starvation': UN warns over 30 million could die of hunger

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Mar 24, 2021, 05:33 PM(IST)

File photo of an eight-year-old malnourished boy lies on a bed in the emergency ward of a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Photograph:( Reuters )

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While the majority of the identified hotspots are in Africa, areas such as Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Haiti, and the Caribbean have also been warned of the unfortunate situation

The coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected everyone around the world, but it has majorly hit the poorer sections of society all around the world.

So much so, the United Nations (UN) has warned that over 30 million people are one step away from dying due to acute hunger in more than 20 countries.

According to a report published by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), which focuses on hunger hotspots, several families in areas of Yemen and South Sudan have already been targetted by acute hunger and starvation.

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As of now, nearly 34 million people are already struggling with high levels of acute hunger known as IPC 4 (Integrated food security Phase Classification), which indicates that people in these groups are just "one step away from starvation".

"The magnitude of suffering is alarming," FAO director-general Qu Dongyu said. "It is incumbent upon all of us to act now and to act fast to save lives, safeguard livelihoods and prevent the worst situation."

Such a situation of acute hunger has been driven by international conflicts, climate changes, and the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed millions of lives around the world and has forced several international governments and organisations to pull back funding for third-world countries.

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"In many regions, the planting season has just started or is about to start," Qu said. "We must run against the clock and not let this opportunity to protect, stabilise and even possibly increase local food production slip away."

While the majority of the identified hotspots are in Africa, areas such as Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Haiti, and the Caribbean have also been warned of the unfortunate situation.

"We are seeing a catastrophe unfold before our very eyes," WFP executive director David Beasley said. "Famine – driven by conflict, and fuelled by climate shocks and the Covid-19 pandemic – is knocking on the door for millions of families."

Beasley also added that increase in donations, access to vulnerable communities and an immediate decrease/halt in the violent conflicts are the three ways in which this disaster can be averted.

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