With the war on Ukraine by Russia surpassing the April mark, the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) worst fear of acute hunger increasing by 17% globally, is fast becoming a reality.
WFP expects the sharpest increases to be in countries in East, West, and Southern Africa. The total number of people in these regions experiencing acute food insecurity could rise by 20.8%, affecting 174 million people.
According to Lena Simet, senior researcher on poverty and inequality at Human Rights Watch, rising prices and the Russia-Ukraine war has exacerbated food security in several African countries.
“Many countries in Africa were already in a food crisis. Rising prices are compounding the plight of millions of people thrown into poverty by the Covid-19 pandemic, requiring urgent action by governments and the international community,” Simet said.
Countries in East, West, Middle, and Southern Africa were already dealing with soaring food prices as a result of floods, landslides, and droughts.
As a result of the war, resources are scarce and prices are rising, notably for fuel, raising the cost of getting food into and out of the region.
Protecting everyone’s rights
“To prevent a hunger crisis, a rights-centered response is vital,” Human Rights Watch said. “Governments should act to protect everyone’s rights to an adequate standard of living, and in particular the right to food, by scaling up emergency food aid and expanding social protection systems.”
Russia and Ukraine are among the top five global exporters of barley, sunflowers, and maize, and they export approximately a third of all wheat.
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