The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warned yesterday that the unprecedented lack of funding puts 24 million people at risk of “emergency levels of hunger” next year, where every one per cent cut in food assistance means 400,000 people are “pushed from crisis to emergency hunger”.
In a statement, the WFP warned that it was forced to significantly reduce rations in most of its areas of operation as international humanitarian funding declines.
WFP experts estimated that, as a result, an additional 24 million people could slip into emergency levels of hunger over the next 12 months; a 50 per cent increase on current levels.
“With the number of people around the world facing starvation at record levels, we need to be scaling up life-saving assistance – not cutting it,” said WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain.
“If we don’t receive the support we need to avert further catastrophe, the world will undoubtedly see more conflict, more unrest, and more hunger.”
According to the UN food agency, There are currently 345 million people facing acute food insecurity worldwide, with 40 million of these in emergency levels of hunger.
It noted that it has been struggling to meet the global need for food assistance while facing a funding shortfall of over 60 per cent this year, the highest in its 60-year history.
Experts at the agency fear that a humanitarian ‘doom loop’ is being triggered, where WFP is being forced to save only the starving, at the cost of the hungry
the statement read.
The WFP has already had to significantly cut its operations in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Jordan, Palestine, South Sudan, Somalia and Syria.
“Our shared goal must be ending the vicious, unsustainable, and costly cycle of crisis and response,” McCain added.