Food crisis and hunger are an increasingly pressing issue that threatens peace and security in the world. These problems are exacerbated by recurrent cycles of violent conflicts and severe weather which put more people at risk of hunger.
A World Food Program (WFP) news release says conflict is a significant cause of food insecurity in 18 countries in the world, most of which are in Africa and the Middle East. The report states that conflict accounts for 60 percent of acute food insecurity worldwide.
Climate crisis such as drought also contributes in no small measure to the widespread hunger problems currently being witnessed in different parts of the globe.
Around 39 million people face severe food insecurity due to drought and other climate-related issues. Overall, approximately 124 million people in 51 countries experienced severe food insecurity in 2017 alone.
Millions at Risk of Starvation in Yemen
War-torn Yemen sits dangerously on the brink of famine as food crisis continues to affect a broad swath of its population. The West Asian sovereign state is battling the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with around 8.4 million people severely food insecure, according to a CBC report.
Despite being the second-largest country in the Peninsula with a total area of 527,968km2, Yemen produces just little of its food domestically owing to severe drought. As a result, it relies mainly on imports to feed itself.
So it’s little wonder that the country was pushed to the brink of famine when Saudi Arabia, in a bid to prevent the flow of weapon into Yemen, introduced a total blockade in November last year after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile toward its capital Riyadh.
The blockade, which was imposed on Yemen’s air, sea, and land borders cut off the country’s access to critical supplies such as food, medicine, fuel, intensifying the hunger crisis.
The blockade on the Hodeidah port, Yemen’s primary port for shipping aid, has since been lifted. However, Mark Lowcock, UN emergency relief coordinator, says food shipments have yet to match the pre-blockade levels.
“I am particularly concerned about the recent decline of commercial food imports through the Red Sea ports.” “Commercial food and fuel imports remained ‘well short of pre-blockade averages,’” CBC quoted Lowcock as saying.
The UN aid chief is worried that things could deteriorate further if the Saudi-led coalition fails to grant unrestricted access to ports across the country, citing an additional 10 million Yemenis are at risk of hunger “If things do not improve.”
With aid agencies struggling to find funding for the global hunger crisis, observers note that sustainable relieve can only come through peace. A report on the Global Citizen suggests that “The biggest impact [to global food crisis] could be made through promoting peace.”
To WFP’s food systems,CEO Steven Were Omamo, peace “would mean a country like Central African Republic having the level of stability of Uganda, or Somalia having the stability of Kenya.”