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Global Report on Food Crises 2018

22/03/2018

In 2017, almost 124 million people across 51 countries and territories faced Crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse (IPC Phase 3 and above or equivalent) and required urgent humanitarian action. In 2016 the population in need of urgent action was estimated at 108 million across 48 countries.

When comparing the 45 countries included in both editions of the Global Report on Food Crises*, there has been an increase of 11 million people in need of urgent action, an 11 percent rise from 2016. This is largely attributed to new or intensified conflict and insecurity in Myanmar, north-east Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Yemen. Prolonged drought conditions also resulted in consecutive poor harvests in countries already facing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa.

North-east states of Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen have experienced significant acute food insecurity and malnutrition. Famine (IPC Phase 5) was declared in February 2017 in two counties of South Sudan. Despite the different contexts of the four countries, humanitarian assistance mobilized by the international community contributed to preventing a deterioration in food security and nutrition. However, humanitarian needs remain exceptionally high with almost 32 million food-insecure people in need of urgent assistance in 2017 across the four countries – an increase of almost 5 million from 2016. By mid-2017, Catastrophe/famine (IPC/CH Phase 5) conditions persisted in South Sudan for 40,000 people and in north-east Nigeria for 50,000 people.

In many countries, food insecurity is driven by multiple factors. However, the overview given in this report focuses on the main driver. In 2017, conflict and insecurity were the major drivers of acute food insecurity in 18 countries and territories where almost 74 million food-insecure people were in need of urgent assistance. Eleven of these countries were in Africa and accounted for 37 million acutely food-insecure people; the largest numbers were in northern Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and South Sudan. Four countries affected by protracted conflict and with very high numbers of food-insecure people in Crisis conditions or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above) were in the Middle East: Yemen had 17 million food-insecure people in need of urgent assistance, while Syria, Iraq and Palestine** together accounted for over 10 million. In Asia, conflict, insecurity and climate disasters drove large numbers of people into acute food insecurity in Afghanistan and Myanmar.

Food security and livelihood interventions save lives, safeguard livelihoods and strengthen resilience in conflict situations and can contribute to generating peace dividends and to sustaining peace. Unless peace is restored and structural changes made, the situation in these conflict-affected countries will continue to be volatile with millions of people facing Crisis conditions of food insecurity or worse.

Extreme climate events – mainly drought – were also major triggers of food crises in 23 countries with over 39 million food-insecure people in need of urgent assistance in 2017.

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