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UN Report: Conflicts, drought intensify global food insecurity

NEW YORK—A new report issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday says despite strong global food supply, localized drought, flooding, and protracted conflicts have intensified and perpetuated food insecurity.

The FAO’s Crop Prospects and Food situation’s new edition report revealed that some 37 countries, 29 of which are in Africa, need external food assistance.

“Ongoing conflicts continue to be a key driver of severe food insecurity, having triggered near-famine conditions in northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen, as well as widespread hunger in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria,” FAO stated.

The report revealed countries which are in need of urgent food assistance in Africa as the estimated 1.1 million people in the Central Africa Republic; about 7.7 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with more than 200,000 refugees and 4 million internally displaced persons; the over 3 million in Boko Haram’s stronghold of northern Nigeria; about 4.8 million people in conflict-torn South Sudan; and some 3.1 million in Somalia.

The UN report also indicated that in Yemen, 17 million, or an estimated 60 percent of the country’s population, require an imperative humanitarian aid.

The UN’s report further revealed that conflict hinders industrious activities, obstructs access to food and ominously deepens the statistics of internally displaced people.

The report also expressed apprehensions about Bangladesh, where several flood incidents have created considerable harm to rice crop farming and production this year.

With respect to Mongolia’s wheat harvest, the report says stark summer drought has resulted in cutting wheat production by almost half.

Notwithstanding, the report points out that, overall, global food production is booming despite local negative trends. Furthermore, production increases are now chronicled in several low-income food-deficient countries, where the cumulative cereal output is predicted to grow by 2 percent by the end of 2017.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.
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