One in 9 people in the world is suffering from hunger, a growing trend for three years that is returning to the same situation a decade ago. Obese people also increase: 1 in 8 adults. The reasons? Climate change and extreme events, conflicts, violence and economic crises. The situation worsens above all in Latin America and in Africa. These are some figures of the report on “The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2018” presented today in Rome at the headquarters of the FAO. The achievement of the “Zero Hunger” goal is delayed by 2030.
An estimated 821 million people in the world suffer from chronic hunger (figures refer to 2017), namely one person every 9, on the rise for the past three years, as compared to the historical low of 2014 with 783.7 million. Now we are back to the same situation of ten years ago. On the opposite side of the spectrum we see a rise in obesity, affecting 672 million people, 1 in 8 adults. It’s the most impressive figure contained in the “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018” report presented today in Rome in FAO headquarters – The Food and Agriculture Organization specialized agency of the United Nations -, jointly drawn up by the major five UN agency involved in this area: in addition to FAO the World food programme/Pam, Unicef agency for children’s rights, Ifad (International Fund for International Development), WHO (World Health Organization). Climate change and climate extremes are the main causes of food insecurity, affecting agricultural production and access to food, along with conflicts, violence and economic crises. For these reasons 151 million children under 5 – 22% – are affected by stunting; 51 million children under 5 are more exposed to diseases and mortality-risk. It is a reversal in progress in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. In fact the situation is growing worse, especially in Latin America and in Africa.
After a gradual recovery from the food insecurity and famine of 2011, Somalia’s food security is once again under threat. The situation is worsening in rural areas following consecutive seasons of poor rainfall and low river water levels. These have resulted in near total crop failures, reduced rural employment opportunities, widespread shortage of water and pasture – with consequent increases in livestock deaths. As local staple food prices continue to rise sharply and livestock prices decrease significantly, access to food is rapidly diminishing among poor families.
As of May 2018, 2.7 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements today and require urgent humanitarian assistance, with more than half a million on the brink of famine. Another 2.7 million Somalis need livelihood support to keep from sliding into crisis. An estimated 300,000 children under age 5 are malnourished, including 48,000 who are severely malnourished and face a high risk of disease and death.
WFP works in Somalia to address basic food needs, strengthen coping mechanisms and support efforts to achieve food security. We reached 3.1 million vulnerable people in 2017, via programmes ranging from emergency relief to activities designed to build resilience to future disasters, such as floods and drought. WFP provides assistance using a combination of cash transfers and food rations, as well as supporting communities to create assets that will strengthen their livelihoods and ability to withstand crises.
Supporting longer-term resilience in Somalia, WFP also works with other UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNICEF – on a joint strategy designed to enhance families’ access to income, improve health, nutrition, education, safety and skills, and provide assistance during times of need.