There are 276 million hungry people in the world, which has doubled in the last 2 years

Save the Children: Drought adds to wars and Covid-19. The worst food crisis in decades.

[6 Luglio 2022]

According to Save the Children, children and their families, who are facing the worst global famine in decades, are resorting to desperate means of survival, such as drinking cattle troughs, eating rotten meat and fighting wild animals for food. The international organization that fights to save boys and girls and secure them a future has set aside 28.5 million in funds to deal with the emergency, but warns that “The latest available data shows that the number of people suffering starvation has doubled every day, from 135 million to 276 million in the last two years, with 750,000 people currently facing starvation conditions in five countries – Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia – due to increasing droughts. the effects of conflict and COVID-19 The war in Ukraine has disrupted the global food system, caused wheat and sunflower oil prices to skyrocket and exacerbated the severe food crisis in countries ranging from Afghanistan to Yemen to the Sahel region of West Africa, where Red The child’s staff see more and more children with a potentially fatal level of malnutrition ».

The most affected area is the Horn of Africa, caught in the grip of drought after 4 consecutive seasons with a lack of rain: “18.4 million people face acute food insecurity for fear that what happened in 2011, when the lack of intervention led to famine in Somalia, which killed 260,000 people, half of whom were children under the age of 5. In some areas of northern Kenya, the only water available to some families comes from feeders, with the consequent spread in communities of debilitating diseases such as diarrhea, with serious consequences for children.

Save the Children’s staff working in eastern Ethiopia noted “An increase in encroachment on urban settlements by hungry wildlife, with monkeys attacking women and children who think they are carrying food or water, and warthogs entering the homes “.

In Somalia, reports of children suffering from malnutrition are rising rapidly, and “1.5 million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year, of which 386,400 are likely to be severely malnourished”.

Gabriella Waaijman, Humanitarian Director of Save the Children. Is very concerned: “The worst global food crisis in recent decades is putting millions of children’s lives at risk. The combined impact of conflict, climate change, Covid and the cost of high food prices as a result of the conflict in Ukraine has led to 750,000 people facing famine. Another 49 million people may soon follow suit if they do not receive immediate support. If not implemented immediately, the consequences will be catastrophic and could cost thousands of lives. In recent decades, enormous progress has been made in reducing world hunger. Countries at the forefront of the climate crisis have become increasingly resilient with new and innovative methods of dealing with the risk of cyclical crises such as droughts. However, all countries have a limit that for many has already been exceeded. The progress made in the past is now reversing ”.

Save the Children prioritises supporting 19 countries where extreme hunger threatens to kill thousands of children in the coming months: Afghanistan, Myanmar, DRC, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. The organization already provides food, cash, livelihood support, and essential health and nutrition services to prevent children from starving now or in the future. It also works with partners to help communities identify early warning signs of the spread of hunger so they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves and mitigate the worst consequences.

There are at least 229,000 severely malnourished children in northern Kenya and their lives are in danger. Mthulisi Dube, a nutritionist currently working with Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit in Turkana, explains that “There are diseases everywhere, associated with hunger and thirst. In some communities, the situation is so serious that after the animals die of starvation, people become forced to eat their rotten meat because they have no other option to feed themselves.Children drink from dry river beds and wells, usually reserved for pets.They get diarrhea and it makes their dehydration worse.It’s a vicious circle.It is increasingly difficult to treat sick children because families are always on the move.We have moved our health posts to the most remote places, far from the big cities, where shepherd communities usually know where to find us, but – always on the hunt after food and water – they are five steps ahead of us.The choice between a glass of water and antibiotics is not a choice.No human being should be in this position.It is not dignified, it is not safe, it is wrong, and decision makers and don orer must act now to prevent the situation from getting worse ”.

The already critical humanitarian situation in South Sudan, the youngest nation in the world, has been further exacerbated by the third year in a row of major floods, leaving around 63% of the population – 7.7 million people – struggling with high levels of insecurity.

In Afghanistan, however, according to the latest estimates, 9.6 million children suffer from hunger every day due to a terrible combination of economic collapse, the impact of the war in Ukraine and the ongoing drought.

Waaijman concludes: Malnutrition caused by extreme hunger remains a leading cause of child death worldwide, but it can be completely prevented. We ask donors, institutional and non-institutional, global and national, and therefore also the Italian Government, to make additional and flexible funding available as soon as possible in order to be able to provide emergency lifesaving services to the communities that are most vulnerable. We know how to treat malnutrition and we know how to prevent it, we just need an overall global response to stop this famine. Together, we can also stop the risk of this deadly killer returning in the future. We know that the causes of hunger today require innovative, long-term solutions that build the foundation of the population’s resilience and address the root causes. A purely reactive system will not be able to prepare for or respond to the challenges of the coming years. Together with governments, donors, partners and communities, we must change the course of this global crisis to create a safe, happy and healthy world for our children, free from suffering and hunger ”.

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