The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that 349 million people in 79 countries face “acute food insecurity,” raise of 200 million people before the pandemic. That sudden jump has prompted the organization and others like it to warn that the world is hungrier than ever.

There are several reasons for the dangerous food shortage, and world leaders are warning that the lack of necessary nutrition will lead to death and massive social upheaval.

Measuring the global food crisis

Public health experts determine whether an area is experiencing hunger based on the daily death rate and the percentage of malnourished children. WFP appreciates that 49 million people in 49 countries are on the brink of starvation. This figure includes almost 900,000 people already experiencing famine or near-famine conditions in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Famine is the most extreme level of food scarcity. Public health officials are also monitoring the acute food insecurity that is life-threatening disability to receive adequate nutrition. Some consider it’s a slow-burning hunger, and 349 million people are currently dealing with food insecurity.

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Another level of deficiency—malnutrition—is used to describe people who cannot consistently meet their daily calorie intake. Currently the United Nations scores almost 900 million people are malnourished.

The undernourished population reached 800 million during the global recession of the early 2000s. The situation improved by about 200 million in early 2010, but began to increase during the pandemic. There are several reasons why hunger increases, which means a quick fix is ​​not an option.

Scarce food supplies

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 is one of the reasons for the spike in food shortages and high prices. Russia is also top wheat, and fertilizer supplierand the war has cut off inventory and caused prices to spike.

Twenty percent of the world’s calorie intake comes from wheat. The US is also considered the top exporter of wheat, but only produces about 6 or 7 percent of world supply. Although the US can produce its own wheat or import from Canada, dozens of countries around the world are cut off from the imports they need.

In response to supply shortages, some countries have banned exports of crops, fertilizers and other supplies to maintain their own stocks. But for some vulnerable countries, these cans do not exist and their people have fallen into a state of hunger, acute food insecurity or malnutrition.

Food shortage crises and conflicts

Countries suffering from food insecurity tend to share some common factors. The WFP cites the conflict as the main reason why the population is suffering from hunger. Sixty percent of the world’s hungry live in conflict zones. Haiti, for example, has experienced political upheavals, especially after the assassination of its president. Likewise Afghanistan suffered damage of the political infrastructure under Taliban rule.

In addition to conflict, climate change contributes to global food shortages by stressing and delaying crops. 2022 survey from Scientific reports found that for every 1 degree Celsius anomaly in temperature, there was a 1.64% increase in severe global food insecurity.

As a result of the food shortage, public health officials warn that the world is on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis. The crisis will not be isolated, and food insecurity is linked to social unrest, conflict and large-scale migration.

Immediate intervention is needed to provide proper nutrition to the starving and vulnerable people. In addition, organizations such as the International Monetary Fund are calling for long-term solutions. Opening trade channelsprotecting shipments in transit from interference and respecting fair distribution can increase crop and fertilizer supplies.

Investing in research into climate-resilient crops can also help farmers grow plants that one day survive heat waves and droughts. And building a world grain supply can store nutrients so they can be delivered to vulnerable populations before a crisis strikes.

Until these ideas can be implemented, advocates urge international relief aid which is now considered the worst food crisis in modern history.

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