unger and famine crises are intensifying in a number of hotspots: a total of 20 million people, including countless children, are at risk of starving in four countries — three in Africa and one in the Middle East. The following are the four crisis zones, all of which are suffering from the effects of armed conflict:
Nigeria: Boko Haram militants’ terror has sparked a major exodus in northeastern Nigeria. The extent of the refugee and famine crises became obvious when the Nigerian army recovered the area in 2016.
Somalia: Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa that has been ravaged by civil war and chaos for decades. Somalia is currently suffering from a severe drought and hunger. This is even worse than the famine of 2011-2012.
South Sudan: Famine has gripped the north of the country, prompting the United Nations to declare a hunger emergency on February 2, 2017. The country’s long-running civil war has left farms fallow and obstructed assistance deliveries.
Yemen: The Arab world’s “poor house” is the only non-African country being threatened by famine. Yemen has been ravaged by civil war since 2015. Hunger is being utilized as a weapon against civilians.
Also, residents in several African countries have recently been affected by the climatic phenomena El Nino, which has resulted in crop destruction, animal death, and famine.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 37 nations, including 28 in Africa, relied on food aid in 2017.
Listed below in alphabetical order are the countries: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
However, the United Nations is short of funds to deliver much-needed assistance to millions of starving people, as promised donations from the worldwide community have yet to arrive.
Famine and long-term hunger
Famines are severe food shortages that occur as a result of drought or war. The most severe kind of food scarcity is famine. Starvation poses a serious hazard to babies and little children, in addition to the elderly. A famine is declared by the United Nations (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) if at least:
i. An extreme shortage of food affects 20% of homes,
ii. 30% of the population is malnourished, and
iii. 2 out of every 10,000 individuals, or 4 children, die every day as a result of food scarcity.
The famine in East Africa in 2011/12 was one of the greatest food crises in the preceding 25 years. 260,000 people died of hunger in Somalia’s war-torn country, including 133,000 children under the age of five.
Because of its tremendous poverty, Sub-Saharan Africa is also a hotbed of chronic hunger. Chronic hunger, according to the FAO, occurs when a person’s daily calorie intake falls below what they require for a healthy and active lifestyle over an extended period of time. The daily calorie allowance is set at 1,800 calories on average.
In Africa, 226.7 million people are undernourished, according to this figure. Also, countries along the south of the Sahara are disproportionately afflicted by extreme poverty and hunger. One out of every four people in Sub-Saharan Africa is hungry, making it the world’s poorest region.
40% to 50% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa live in poverty, with an average daily income of less than $1.25. As a result, Sub-Saharan Africa, together with Southern Asia, is one of the world’s poorest regions.
Malnourishment and high death rate in children
Africa’s hunger crisis has a disproportionate impact on children. In Africa, there are far too many hungry children; each one is one too many. Malnutrition is a primary cause of high infant mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, as it causes physical and mental development delays and problems.
According to UN figures, 165 million children around the world are underweight or stunted as a result of chronic malnutrition. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are homes to three-quarters of these children. 40 percent of children in Sub-Saharan Africa are impacted, and 39 percent in South Asia.
Sub-Saharan Africa loses 3.2 million children under the age of five per year, accounting for over half of all deaths in this age range worldwide.
Malnutrition is responsible for roughly every second death in children under the age of five around the world. Diseases including pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea commonly result in death when the immune system is weakened.
One in nine children in Sub-Saharan Africa dies before reaching the age of five, making it one of the world’s highest child mortality rates. One out of every six children in Sierra Leone dies before they become five years old. Nigeria and the DR Congo in particular, both have high rates of child mortality.
Africa’s hunger and food scarcity are caused by a variety of factors
The causes of widespread poverty and food scarcity in Africa are diverse and do not revolve around a lack of agricultural productivity or severe meteorological circumstances, as is commonly supposed. Millions of hectares of fertile land cover Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is self-sufficient in terms of food. Several challenges, however, stand in the way of self-sufficiency and triumph in Africa’s struggle against hunger:
Growth of the population: Although the population of Sub-Saharan Africa is quickly increasing, food production is not keeping pace.
Unfair trade structures: The EU and the US support domestic agriculture, whereas African farmers are unable to compete with low-cost imports of food.
Debt trap and mismanagement: Many African countries’ high levels of debt, along with bad governance and corruption, are impeding economic development. The result is widespread poverty and famine.
Pollution: Due to the process of extracting mineral resources on land and water mostly by foreign firms, the aftermath of their activities is nothing short of pollution such as oil spillage destroying expanse of land and water, destroying crops and stifling life out of fishes which is a major income source for people in the riverine part of sub-Sahara Africa.
Diseases: Diseases such as malaria, Typhoid Fever, Cholera, Ebola epidemic, AIDS, etc. stifle agricultural productivity in Africa and deprive households of breadwinners.
Armed conflicts: Africa has a lot of them. The majority of international conflict, civil and political unrest take place south of the Sahara. Suffering and starvation are constant companions for refugees.
In Africa’s fight against hunger and famine, there have been successes as well as setbacks.
Efforts in Africa to combat hunger and food scarcity have yielded notable accomplishments as well as tragic disasters. The following are the most notable accomplishments:
Rwanda, a former civil war-torn country, today has greater political and economic stability.
The adoption of science and technology education by the African community has spurred more people to start businesses, resulting in economic growth in the Sub-Saharan region.
Improved medical care, extensive information, availability to drugs, and international aid funds have all contributed to progress in the battle against HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Improved medical facilities are now in place in major areas of cities across Africa, which have helped to lower infant mortality rates.
In Africa, decreases in the fight against hunger and famine includes:
Climate change and environmental degradation have resulted in crop failures.
Food inflation and speculation are on the rise across the globe.
Northern Mali, Northern Nigeria, and South Sudan are experiencing humanitarian crises as a result of violent hostilities.
In conclusion, Africa needs to rise up to the occasion by taking proactive measures that would make sure that food is made available for her ever-growing population, and stop relying on the developed nations for food aids. More focus should be geared towards agriculture and a bulk of our GDP should follow suit in the same direction so that we can start producing at a large scale for our people and to the rest of the world through export.