More than 200 NGOs have issued a warning that “stop the spiralling global hunger catastrophe” by taking swift international action. 238 organisations from 75 nations, including Oxfam, Save the Children, and Plan International, voiced alarm at the rising rates of hunger in an open letter to world leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
One person dying of hunger every four seconds
The open letter has claimed that one person is dying of hunger every four seconds. “A staggering 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger, a number that has more than doubled since 2019,” the organisations have said in a statement. “Despite promises from world leaders to never allow famine again in the 21st century, famine is once more imminent in Somalia. Around the world, 50 million people are on the brink of starvation in 45 countries,” they said.
The NGOs noted that up to 19,700 people are thought to be dying from hunger every day, which equates to one death from hunger every four seconds.
“It is abysmal that with all the technology in agriculture and harvesting techniques today we are still talking about famine in the 21st century,” Mohanna Ahmed Ali Eljabaly from the Yemen Family Care Association, one of the letter’s signatories, said in the statement. “This is not about one country or one continent and hunger never only has one cause. This is about the injustice of the whole of humanity,” he said. “We must not wait a moment longer to focus both on providing immediate lifesaving food and longer-term support so people can take charge of their futures and provide for themselves and their families.”
Russia-Ukraine War – A contributing factor to rising hunger
The organisations claim that a “deadly mix of poverty, social injustice, gender inequality, conflict, climate change, and economic shocks,” as well as the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which further increased food prices, have contributed to the world hunger crisis.
Russia and Ukraine are the third and fourth-largest grain exporters in the world, respectively, and Russia is also a significant exporter of petroleum and fertiliser.
The war, which is now in its seventh month, has hampered their exports, driven global food prices to record highs, and sparked protests in developing nations that were already experiencing skyrocketing food prices as a result of supply chain concerns tied to COVID-19.
“Those with the power and money to change this must come together to better respond to current crises and prevent and prepare for future ones,” the organisations said.