UN warns famine will soar in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, 17 more countries in next months

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Representative Image
Representative Image

New York [US], March 23 (ANI/Sputnik): Acute food insecurity will likely deteriorate over the next couple of months in 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and African countries, the World Food Program (WFP) said in a new report on Tuesday.

"Looking at the outlook period of March-July 2021, there are 20 countries and situations where there is a likelihood of further deterioration in acute food insecurity, due to multiple drivers of hunger that are interlinked or mutually reinforcing," the report said. "These are primarily conflicting dynamics, economic shocks, the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, weather extremes, and the diffusion of plant pests and animal diseases."

The report said Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria are the countries of highest concern, requiring emergency humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods as well as prevent any further deterioration. Across these countries, critical drivers of famine, such as conflict risks, weather, and climate extremes, and humanitarian access constraints, are expected to evolve and combine in the coming months.

Economic risks resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will aggravate situations in Venezuela, Haiti, Central America's Northern Triangle, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, according to the report. Natural hazard risks driven by the ongoing La Nina phenomenon are likely to affect Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Madagascar, Angola, and Central America.

The situation with the desert locust also remains concerning for the Red Sea coast, East Africa, and countries in Southern Africa, including Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. Moreover, conflict and bureaucratic impediments on humanitarian access will continue to be a significant food insecurity factor in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, the Central African Republic, and Niger, the report said.

Overall, more than 34 million people worldwide are already facing emergency levels of acute hunger, having significant food consumption gaps, and grappling with excess mortality, the report indicated.

To avert famine and urgently scale up assistance, the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation earlier this month called on donors to provide USD 5.5 billion for 2021. (ANI/Sputnik)