Red Cross appeal: “Global hunger emergency, urgent action is needed”

Rocca: “The situation is expected to get worse in 2023. However, with swift action, many lives can be saved”

The Red Cross warns of world hunger and calls for urgent action to tackle a crisis that affects millions of people. To launch the appeal are Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who, in view of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, put emphasis also on the devastating impact of the war in Ukraine on the food emergency. “The armed conflict in Ukraine – reads a note – has severely disrupted global food supply systems as well as future crops in many countries affected by the impact it is having on fertilizer availability. The importance of additional loaded ships of wheat on the Black Sea to reach weak populations in East Africa cannot be underestimated: too few ships for the supply of wheat are reaching the populations that need it urgently “.

“Over 140 million people – it is emphasized – are facing serious food insecurity due to conflicts and instability. And climate change and economic precariousness indicate that the need for hunger will increase in the coming months. Now political will and resources are needed. them, many lives will be lost and the suffering will last for years. An emergency response alone will not end these hunger crises. Concerted action and long-term approaches are the only way to break the cycle. addressing urgent needs, it is essential to lay the foundations for resilience. Further efforts must be made by governments, private sectors and humanitarian and development groups to support food security, livelihoods and resilience plans to The measures must include investments in strengthening basic food systems and community actors to achieve sustainable safety at the iment and economical. One of the approaches to be considered is preventive action for food safety, based on forecasts and risk analyzes “.

“Two dozen countries across Africa – underlines Rocca – are grappling with the worst food crisis of recent decades. About 22 million people in the Horn of Africa are in the clutches of hunger due to aggravated crises such as drought, floods , economic effects of Covid-19, conflicts and even desert locusts. Behind the incredibly high numbers are real people: men, women and children who fight a deadly hunger every day. The situation is expected to get worse in 2023. However, with a ‘ rapid action, many lives can be saved. We need urgent and massive action to increase life-saving assistance to millions of people in dire need of help, but also to address the root causes of this crisis decisively through commitments long-term”.

“The IFRC and its members, which consist of Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in nearly every corner of the globe, are providing aid to hard-to-reach communities. Assistance includes getting money into the hands of families to cope. to food, health and other urgent needs – explains Rocca – In Nigeria, Red Cross volunteers focus on pregnant and nursing mothers, whose nutrition is essential for healthy births and childhoods. In Madagascar, volunteers restore the land and water sources through anti-erosion activities, the construction of water points and a focus on irrigation in addition to traditional methods of fighting hunger, such as nutritional monitoring. ”

“Conflict is a great engine of hunger – says Peter Maurer – We see the violence that prevents farmers from planting and harvesting. We see sanctions and blockades that prevent the delivery of food to the most vulnerable. My wish is to build resilience in the fabric of the humanitarian response, so that communities suffer less when violence and climate change disrupt lives. A round of buffer solutions will not be enough in the coming years. ”

The ICRC this year helped nearly 1 million people in southern and central Somalia buy food for a month by distributing cash to more than 150,000 families. A similar program in Nigeria has helped 675,000 people, while more than a quarter of a million people have received inputs for climate-smart agriculture to restore agricultural production. The ICRC works to strengthen resilience through seeds, tools and livestock care so that residents can better absorb recurring shocks. And its medical professionals run stabilization centers in places like Somalia, where children receive specialized nutritional care.

“Communities all over the world are suffering profound difficulties”, underlines the Red Cross, which takes a picture of the most dramatic situations.

In sub-Saharan Africa: one in three children under the age of five suffers from chronic malnutrition, while two in five women of childbearing age are anemic due to poor nutrition. Most people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $ 1.90 a day.

In Afghanistan: The combination of three decades of armed conflict and an economic meltdown leading to few job opportunities and a massive banking crisis are having a devastating effect on Afghan families’ ability to buy food. More than half of the country’s population, 24 million, is in need of assistance. The International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent welcomes any measure aimed at alleviating the effect of economic sanctions. But given the depth of the humanitarian crisis, long-term solutions are also needed, including resuming projects and investments by states and development agencies in key infrastructure.

In Pakistan: Recent floods have caused estimated losses of $ 12 billion. Food security in the country was alarming before this latest catastrophe, with 43% of the population suffering from hunger. Now the number is expected to increase significantly. About 78,000 square kilometers (21 million acres) of crops are underwater. About 65 percent of the country’s food basket – crops such as rice and wheat – is estimated to have been destroyed, with over 733,000 head of cattle killed. The floods will also adversely affect food delivery in neighboring Afghanistan.

In Somalia: We have seen a fivefold increase in the number of malnourished children in need of treatment. Baidoa’s Bay Regional Hospital last month admitted 466 children, up from 82 in August 2021.

In Syria: Food insecurity rates have increased by more than 50 percent since 2019. Today, two-thirds of the Syrian population, 12.4 million out of 18 million, cannot meet their daily food needs. The effects of more than a decade of conflict, including the consequences of sanctions, have paralyzed people’s purchasing power. Food prices have increased fivefold in the past two years.

In Yemen: Most Yemenis survive on one meal a day. Last year, 53 percent of Yemen’s population was at risk. This year the percentage has risen to 63 percent, or about 19 million people. Aid workers were forced to cut food assistance due to lack of funds. Due to this, around 5 million people will now receive less than 50 percent of their daily nutritional needs.