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Call for Action to Avert Famine in 2021

Post date Monday, 15 March, 2021 - 15:47

The number of people experiencing acute food insecurity has remained persistently above 100 million over the last four years. In 2019, the figure rose sharply to 135 million across 58 countries, driven by more conflict, climate extremes and economic turbulence. This number has since dramatically increased including due to the compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Across 79 countries with World Food Programme (WFP) operational presence and data available, WFP estimates that up to 270 million people are acutely food insecure or at high risk at the outset of 2021. While the next Global Report on Food Crises will be launched in April 2021 by the Global Network Against Food Crises, 
a dramatic increase in the numbers of people in acute food insecurity is evident through new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analyses or similar analytical processes in countries where the  
IPC/Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analyses have not been undertaken, with 174 million people in IPC Phase 3  
or worse in the 58 countries covered. Equally concerning is the rise in the number of persons displaced within and across international borders while fleeing conflict, persecution, violence or human rights violations, rising to over 80 million in 2020.

Of absolute urgent and imminent concern today are more than 34 million people in IPC Phase 4 across the world who already face emergency levels of acute food insecurity and are highly vulnerable to face famine or famine-like conditions without urgent immediate life-saving action. In nine of these countries 
(Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) there are more than 1 million people already at this level. Other countries of concern include the Central African Republic, Honduras and Zimbabwe with more than 500,000 people in  
IPC Phase 4. Already in 2020, there were 132,900 people in IPC Phase 5 (“catastrophe”) living in famine or famine-likely conditions in Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen, compared to 84,500 in 2019. In 2021, this number is further increasing and currently stands at 155,000 people. In addition, preliminary estimates indicate that millions currently in IPC Phase 3 are at extremely high risk of a rapid deterioration into Phase 4 or even Phase 5 in the event of a further stress or shock.

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