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UN Offers Grim Report on Humanitarian Aid, as Needs and Hunger Grow by Millions, Funding Shrinks

Dec. 3, 2021 (EIRNS)—On Dec. 2 , the UN’s Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released its “Global Humanitarian Overview 2022,” which offers a dire picture of world famine and urgent financing needs for humanitarian aid—now far below the $7 billion just for the 45 million facing immediate starvation, requested by World Food Program director David Beasley. Coinciding with this, from London, a group of 120 NGOs and charities of varying sizes, issued a letter to world leaders from London, also urging that immediate action be taken to ameliorate the “famine risk ... soaring globally,” and about which the UN warned over six months ago. The letter is posted on the website of the international NGO, “Action against Hunger.” The letter states:

“It is over six months since the UN warned that famine risk is soaring globally. We—a group of 120 NGOs from around the world—are at a loss that since then the crisis has only worsened. There has been a 370% rise in people experiencing catastrophic levels of hunger since April and now a staggering 45 million people are at extreme risk—on the brink of famine. These numbers do not tell the whole story. Behind them are people suffering immensely from a crisis that we can prevent. What will it take for this situation to change?”

The letter cites warnings by UN Secretary General António Guterres of huge funding deficits, rising rates of hunger and malnutrition, escalating conflict and humanitarian crises, underscoring that conflict impedes humanitarian access, and starvation is being used as a means of warfare. The organizations explain: “The number of people at risk, and associated costs, are escalating, rising from $6.6 billion needed to support 41 million people at risk of famine a few months ago, to $7 billion needed to feed the 45 million people at risk across 43 countries, now,” and calls on world leaders to take responsibility for fully providing needed funding to end famine globally and address emergencies that fuel hunger, including the Covid pandemic, conflict and natural catastrophes.

The OCHA report figures say there are 274 million people in need of humanitarian aid; of those 183 million people are “most in need across 63 countries, which will require $41 billion.” The 274 million in need next year are a rise from 235 million in 2020 and 168 million in 2019.

The report gives figures that “famine-like conditions remain a real and terrifying possibility in 43 countries around the world, with 45 million people facing emergency or catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity in IPC Phase 4 Emergency and above, up from 41 million people in June 2021,” and $7 billion needed to avert disaster. These are the two highest levels of “food insecurity,” in which life is immediately threatened; “food insecurity” is cited as the major cause for humanitarian need. Moreover,

“In its September update, the Global Report on Food Crises ... estimated that 161 million people in 42 countries faced acute food insecurity [IPC 3] in the first eight months of 2021. However, given the worsening situation at the end of 2021, ... if additional contexts are factored in, the numbers are likely to be ... up to 283 million people could be acutely food insecure or at high risk in 2021 across 80 countries.”

Since before the Covid pandemic began, the number of people at risk for famine has risen by 60%, the report adds.

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