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10 Nations at High Risk of Food Insecurity During Spring

Ten nations face a high risk of food insecurity (lacking access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food) during the spring, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) April-June 2019 Early Warning Action report published this month.

Six of these nations are in Africa: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan and Zimbabwe. The remaining at-risk countries are Afghanistan, Haiti, Venezuela and Yemen.

An additional 11 nations are designated “on watch” for food insecurity.

“Countries are categorized as ‘high risk’ when there is a high likelihood of a new emergency or a significant deterioration of the current situation with potentially severe effects on agriculture and food security,” the report explained. “Countries categorized as ‘on watch’ instead have a comparatively more moderate likelihood and/or potential impact, requiring close monitoring.”

Yemen is facing a dire humanitarian situation due to ongoing conflict.

A majority of the population (57 percent) or 15.9 million people are expected to be food insecure (lacking sufficient food to meet daily needs) even with international food assistance.

That number would jump to 67 percent (20.1 million) were funding for food assistance programs not met for 2019.

Despite an uneasy ceasefire in South Sudan following years of fighting, 60 percent of the nation is projected to be food insecure by July, with an estimated 860,000 children expected to be malnourished by year end. Background on the South Sudan conflict is available here.

Economic crises are increasing food insecurity in Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, with Sudan experiencing a military takeover and removal of President Omar al-Bashir in early April that leaves the nation’s future uncertain.

Other drivers of food insecurity noted in the report include extreme weather events (Afghanistan and Haiti), and the arrival of refugees and internally displaced persons (Burkina Faso and Cameroon), where the population is already struggling to meet its basic needs.

A 2017 U.N. World Food Program report explored the complex interplay between conflict, food insecurity and global migration, providing insight into the reality faced by several nations on FAO’s high-risk list for April-June 2019.

Another FAO report published in early April 2019 revealed that 113 million people faced hunger in 2018, down slightly from 2017 in total numbers but an increase in the number of countries in which persons experienced food insecurity.

The full FAO April-June 2019 report is available here.