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Report: In 2018, 76m people would need food aid in 45 countries

NAIROBI, KENYA––As the world population grows, the need for food is becoming an increasing challenge for many countries. According to a new report, an estimated 76 million people will be in need emergency food assistance in about 45 countries, many of them would be mainly in Africa in 2018.

The finding was contained in a food security assessment report released in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWs Net), a donor-funded agency which monitors food insecurity, cautions that four of the would-be countries – South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen – face a serious risk of famine while the Somali region of Ethiopia remains an area of concern.

“Given that no improvement in underlying conditions is expected in these countries, the provision of humanitarian assistance will be a primary determinant of whether famine is averted,” FEWS Net said.

The report says the estimated number of people that would be affected in 2018 is 60 percent higher than those affected in 2015 and only slightly lower than the 83 million people in need during 2017.

The report maintained that improvements in Southern Africa are largely responsible for the decline between 2017 and 2018.

Drought in Somalia and the Somali region of Ethiopia, and conflict in Yemen, South Sudan, and northeast Nigeria, according to the report, are the main drivers of acute food insecurity within these countries.

The report says conflicts could be the primary driver of food security emergencies during 2018, including in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

“In these countries, ongoing insecurity will continue to disrupt livelihoods, limit trade, and market functioning, displace households, and hinder the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” FEWS Net said.

The report cautions about the size of the food insecure population that is likely to grow in most other countries. Thirteen countries are expected to have more than 1 million people (local populations, IDPs, and refugees) in crisis or worse and in need of emergency assistance during 2018.

“These include Yemen (15 million); Syria, South Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, and Nigeria (5.00-6.99 million); Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan (3.00-4.99 million); and Kenya, Iraq, Uganda, and Pakistan (1.00-2.99 million),” FEWS Net said.

In addition, rainfall in some pastoral areas of West Africa has been mediocre to poor for a third consecutive year, and forecasts for the upcoming seasons in Southern Africa and Central Asia indicate an increased likelihood of drier than usual conditions.

The report warns the size of the food insecure population is likely to grow in most other countries. Thirteen countries are expected to have more than 1 million people (local populations, IDPs, and refugees) in crisis or worse and in need of emergency assistance during 2018.

“These include Yemen (15 million); Syria, South Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, and Nigeria (5.00-6.99 million); Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan (3.00-4.99 million); and Kenya, Iraq, Uganda, and Pakistan (1.00-2.99 million),” FEWS Net said.

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Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere

Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere is a public affairs researcher and senior investigative correspondent.
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