UN: Millions of People Around the World at Risk From Conflict Famine

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warns the Security Council of impending conflict-driven famines exacerbated by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The world is facing multiple, conflict-driven famines aggravated by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and without immediate action, millions of people — from the Sahel to Afghanistan — could well find themselves on the brink of extreme hunger and death this year,” he said.

Guterres’ warning comes just as the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) ask for $5.5 billion to help 34 million people faced with food insecurity worldwide.

Expressing deep concern about the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, which has disrupted the harvest season, Guterres touched on how conflict and famine intertwine. “If you don’t feed the people you feed conflict,” he said. 

“Famine and hunger are no longer about lack of food,” he noted. “They are now largely man made, — and I use the term deliberately. There is no place for farming and starvation in the 21st century.”

In his speech, Guterres revealed that in 2020, more than 88 million people were suffering from acute hunger, a number that is 20% higher than in 2019 and is set to keep going up.

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