Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Conflicts, drought intensify global food insecurity

08 Dec 2017, 00:44 ( 9 days ago) | updated: 08 Dec 2017, 00:46 ( 9 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Children distribute free bread to people at a center financed by rich people and merchants in Sanaa, Yemen, on Nov. 12, 2017. File Photo Xinhua.

Despite strong global food supply, localized drought, flooding and protracted conflicts have intensified and perpetuated food insecurity, said a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday.

The new edition of the FAO's Crop Prospects and Food situation report revealed that some 37 countries, 29 of which are in Africa, require external food assistance.

"Ongoing conflicts continue to be a key driver of severe food insecurity, having triggered near-famine conditions in northern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as widespread hunger in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria," FAO stated.

The report also said that conflict impedes productive activities, hinders access to food and significantly intensifies the numbers of internally displaced people.

In Africa, the report details that urgently in need of food assistance are about 1.1 million people in the Central Africa Republic; some 7.7 million in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which hosts more than 200,000 refugees and 4 million internally displaced persons; over 3 million in northern Nigeria; some 4.8 million in South Sudan; and 3.1 million in Somalia, a number that has tripled over the past year.

Moreover, in Yemen, 17 million, or 60 percent of the population, are believed to require urgent humanitarian assistance.

The report also flags concerns in Bangladesh, where three episodes of flash floods this year caused substantial damage to the rice crop.

A severe summer drought has also cut Mongolia's wheat harvest by almost half.

Despite local negative trends, the report points out that, overall, global food production is booming. In addition, production gains are being recorded in many low-income food-deficient countries, where the aggregate cereal output is forecast to grow by 2 percent this year. 

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