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UN names 10 countries facing food insecurity

Food security and agriculture impacted in countries facing long-standing conflict or economic crisis, says FAO report

News Service AA

In a new report, the UN identifies 10 countries worldwide at high risk in terms of food security, more than half of them in Africa.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, the countries at risk are Yemen, South Sudan, Venezuela, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

In the report for this April to June, high-risk countries are defined as those where a new emergency or significant deterioration of the current situation is likely, with potentially severe effects on agriculture and food security.

The FAO aims to proactively mitigate and prevent disasters before they start to impact food security.

The report said that serious impacts on food security and agriculture are commonly seen in countries facing a longstanding conflict or economic crisis.

Yemen

As a country facing a longstanding conflict, Yemen is facing a severe humanitarian crisis, with some 24 million people estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the report.

"Due to the protracted conflict, the economic situation of Yemen is likely to continue to deteriorate, this could result in further price shocks for essential food and non-food commodities, and therefore could further compromise access to food," the FAO report said.

South Sudan

South Sudan’s more than five-year-old conflict has left the country in a dire humanitarian and macroeconomic situation.

The report highlighted around 4.14 million people were displaced and 6.87 million people are expected to be food insecure.

Venezuela

Venezuela, facing hyperinflation since November 2016, is beset by shortages of food, medicine, healthcre services, and basic supplies.

According to a 2018 survey of living conditions by three universities, 80 percent of Venezuelan households are food insecure and 90 percent have income insufficient to buy food.

"In the coming months, the food security situation [in Venezuela] is not expected to improve and emigration is likely to continue," FAO said.

Sudan

Sudan’s ongoing economic crisis disrupts public services, impacts agricultural activities, and pushes up prices for staple foods.

The price hikes “will continue to constrain food access among the most vulnerable people, who seasonally increase their reliance on markets during the lean season," according to the FAO report.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's currency crisis has worsened since 2018, with significant spikes in the prices of fuel, food, and other goods.

"An estimated 31 percent of Zimbabwe’s rural population – 2.9 million people – will require urgent action to protect and save livelihoods, reduce food consumption gaps, and minimize acute malnutrition, between February and May 2019," FAO said.

Cameroon

Almost 1.1 million people in Cameroon are facing food insecurity due to insecurity and the arrival of refugees, the crisis in its northwest and southwest regions, and incoming refugees from Central African Republic.

"The frequent lockdown and ghost town days are affecting economic activities, the functioning of markets and the start of the agricultural season," according to the report.

Burkina Faso

Due to armed groups, the security situation in Burkina Faso has worsened since 2018, with over 687,000 people facing food insecurity.

"Violence is likely to trigger additional displacements for a total estimated of 190,000, in a context where access to those in need is difficult," the report stated.

Haiti

"In Haiti, an unfavorable cropping season compounded with high inflation has led to increased levels of food insecurity," said the report.

The political situation in the country has caused 2.6 million people to be severely insecure.

Afghanistan

An intense drought in most of the country in 2018 resulted in food insecurity.

As of March, heavy rain and flooding is expected to impact around 250,000 people.

Nigeria

"Communal clashes between pastoralists and farmers were frequent, particularly in Adamawa, directly affecting the livelihood assets and food security of the local population," said the report.

Food security issues in Nigeria have lessened compared to previous years, but approximately 4.9 million people are expected to be food insecure this summer.

Last August, an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak -- said to affect pigs and wild bears with up to 100% fatality -- threatened to spread to Asia.

Also in Asia, a Fall Armyworm (FAW) insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas spread over Central and West Africa and some parts of Asia.

"The ASF virus survives in cold or hot weather, when dried or cured in pork products, and is resistant to some disinfectants," the report stated.

"FAW is likely to spread to other parts of Asia, with Southeast Asia and southern China most at risk."

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