Tue 12 Sep 2023 1:14 pm - Jerusalem Time

World Food Program warns 24 million people are at risk of famine

The World Food Program warned Tuesday that 24 million people were at risk of starvation as a result of shrinking funding and prompted it to significantly reduce rations in many operations.

A statement from the United Nations organization said that "an additional 24 million people may suffer from emergency hunger during the next 12 months, an increase of 50 percent compared to the current level."

The organization said, according to the statement, that it is struggling to meet the growing global needs for food aid at a time when it is facing the highest rate of funding shortages in its history this year, at more than 60 percent.

The statement reported that "contributions to the World Food Program decreased for the first time ever, while needs are steadily increasing."

UN program experts estimate that this will have dire consequences, as for every 1 percent reduction in food aid, more than 400,000 people face the risk of falling into emergency levels of hunger.

UNDP Executive Head Cindy McCain said that providing more funding is necessary.

She stressed in a statement that, “If we do not receive the support we need to avoid more disasters, the world will undoubtedly witness more conflicts, more unrest, and more hunger.”

"Either we fan the flames of global instability, or we work quickly to extinguish them," she continued.

The United Nations Program estimates the number of people facing acute food insecurity at 345 million people around the world, at the third stage of the five-stage food security vulnerability classification.

The program explained that this number includes 40 million people who have reached emergency levels of hunger, or the fourth stage in the classification, which prompts them to take desperate measures in order to survive and not be exposed to the risk of death due to malnutrition.

He described "the food aid provided by the World Food Program as a necessary lifeline, and often the only thing to prevent them from being exposed to famine."

However, the agency said it has already had to make massive cuts in nearly half of its operations, including in hotspots such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Haiti and Syria.

In Afghanistan, the United Nations Program was forced in May to reduce the number of beneficiaries by 66 percent, at a time when the country is witnessing one of the worst humanitarian crises, with about 22.8 million people - more than half of the population - facing severe food insecurity, and the danger of Malnutrition: Three million children.

In July, aid was cut off from 45 percent of aid recipients in Syria and a quarter of those registered on the World Food Program's lists in Haiti.

The program was also forced, according to what he reported, to reduce nearly half the number of beneficiary cases in Somalia, affecting 4.7 million people when the organization’s response to famine there reached its maximum limit last year.

The program's experts fear that a humanitarian "cycle of doom" will form, when the United Nations is forced to "save only those who are starving, at the expense of mere hungry people."

McCain insisted there was "only one way out of this."

“We need to fund emergency operations to feed the hungry today while at the same time investing in long-term solutions that address the root causes of hunger,” she said.

“Our common goal must be to end the vicious, unsustainable and costly cycle of crises and responses,” she added.


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World Food Program warns 24 million people are at risk of famine