Acute hunger remains persistently high in 59 countries: GRFC

Global Network Against Food Crises’ partners call for a transformative approach to break the cycle of acute hunger

According to the latest Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC), nearly 282 million people in 59 countries and territories experienced high levels of acute hunger in 2023 – a worldwide increase of 24 million from the previous year. This rise was due to the report’s increased coverage of food crisis contexts as well as a sharp deterioration in food security, especially in the Gaza Strip and the Sudan.

For four consecutive years, the proportion of people facing acute food insecurity has remained persistently high at almost 22 per cent of those assessed, significantly exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels.

Children and women are at the forefront of these hunger crises, with over 36 million children under 5 years of age acutely malnourished across 32 countries, the report shows. Acute malnutrition worsened in 2023, particularly among people displaced because of conflict and disasters.

The Global Network Against Food Crises urgently calls for a transformative approach that integrates peace, prevention and development action alongside at-scale emergency efforts to break the acute hunger cycle at unacceptably high levels.

“This crisis demands an urgent response. Using the data in this report to transform food systems and address the underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition will be vital,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

Thirty-six countries have been consistently featured in the GRFC analyses since 2016, reflecting continuing years of acute hunger, and currently representing 80 per cent of the world’s most hungry.  

There has also been an increase of 1 million people facing Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity across 39 countries and territories, with the biggest increase in Sudan.

In 2023, more than 705,000 people were at the Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5) level of food insecurity and risk of starvation – the highest number in the GRFC’s reporting history and up fourfold since 2016. The current situation in the Gaza Strip accounts for 80 per cent of those facing imminent famine, along with South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Somalia and Mali.

According to the GRFC 2024 future outlook, around 1.1 million people in the Gaza Strip and 79 000 people in South Sudan are projected to be in Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5) by July 2024, bringing the total amount of people projected in this phase to almost 1.3 million.

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