By Sharon Atieno

In the next four months (August to November), acute food insecurity in 23 countries driven by conflict, economic shocks, natural hazard risks and constrained humanitarian access will worsen, if no action is taken, a new report warns.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) report, over 41 million people worldwide are now at risk of falling into famine or famine-like conditions, unless they receive immediate life-saving assistance.

Hotspot Countries

Ethiopia and Madagascar are the new highest alert hotspots joining Yemen, Nigeria and South Sudan which remain highest alert hotspots.

In Ethiopia, up to 401 000 people are projected to be in Catastrophe between July and September 2021- due to the impact of conflict in Tigray region. In this situation, households have an extreme lack of food and/or other basic needs even after full employment of coping strategies. Starvation, death, destitution and extremely critical acute malnutrition levels are evident.

The Famine Review Committee estimates a medium to high risk of famine in three out of four possible scenarios, the report notes.
In Madagascar, a total of 28 000 people are also at risk of famine by the end of 2021, due to the country’s worst drought in 40 years.

Among the other countries and situations highlighted in the report, those of particular concern are those with high numbers of people in critical food insecurity coupled with worsening drivers: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Honduras, the Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic. Chad, Colombia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Kenya and Nicaragua have been added to the list of hotspots.

In Kenya, the report finds that the impacts of two consecutive poor rainy seasons on pastoral and agropastoral livelihoods are likely to worsen the food security situation, in particular in arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) counties over the coming months.

The most-concerning counties, which are projected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity, are Garissa, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir. In addition, the nutrition situation is also expected to deteriorate as a result of the deterioration in livestock body conditions and resulting poor milk production and consumption.

“In Nicaragua, 250 000 to 500 000 people are estimated to be in Crisis or worse between April and July, with their food security situation likely to worsen further in the upcoming months, “ the report reads.

“Poor households are still recovering from the impact of hurricanes Eta and Iota last year, which caused localized damages to agricultural production and fisheries and affected around 100 000 hectares of cropland.”

Amongst the hunger hotspots, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Yemen are classified as having Extreme access constraints according to the recently published ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Countries classified as having Very High constraints include the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, the Niger, the Sudan, and South Sudan.