In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 690 million people — nearly 9 per cent of the world's population — still go to bed hungry each night. After nearly a decade of progress, the number of hungry people has slowly increased — driven by the twin scourges of conflict and climate change, and now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. WFP is the frontline agency responding to emergencies caused by conflict, climate shocks, pandemics and other disasters. There are 34 million people in three-dozen countries at the ‘emergency’ phase of food insecurity in 2021, just one step away from a declaration of famine. The greatest threat currently lies in Yemen and South Sudan. WFP urgently need US$5.5 billion to avert famine, chiefly through life-saving food and nutrition assistance.
As food prices rise, basic misconceptions of famine also persist, WFP considers dispelling these is an important step in better understanding the current plight of millions of people.
Food prices across the country are skyrocketing — the cost of basic food items is up a staggering 313 percent on figures for 2019. Today, a record number of Syrians don’t know what they will eat tomorrow. Each month, over 400 WFP staff are at hand providing life-saving food to 4.8 million people across Syria — together with nutrition assistance, this is critical for families struggling to rebuild their lives after a decade of conflict. They face unprecedented challenges to buy the basics, including medicines, and to continue sending their children to school.
Rania and Abdallah’s story is inspiring. It reminds us all that even in a city’s darkest moments there are people who stubbornly refuse to give up and let tragedy define their lives. Instead, they are doing everything possible to build a better life for their son. They are among 4.8 million people in Syria that WFP reaches with assistance each month. Abdallah was born blind while Rania has 1 percent vision. Their son is not visually impaired. The couple have lived in Aleppo throughout the conflict and today receive WFP support for their basic needs. While many families mourn the loss of Aleppo’s beauty, having seen the city they love destroyed, Rania and Abdallah paint a shocking picture of enduring a conflict through what they’ve heard and sensed.
People in Yemen face famine unless the world takes immediate action, the World Food Programme WFP), warned this month. Nearly 50,000 people in Yemen are already living in famine-like conditions, with 5 million just a step away. The UN estimates nearly 250,000 people have died during Yemen’s six-year war, including more than 131,000 people from the indirect consequences of conflict, such as lack of food, health services and infrastructure — the situation in the country is worse now than it has been at any point since 2015. Despite ongoing humanitarian assistance, 16.2 million Yemenis are food insecure.
David is learning to grow avocado, green peppers, chillies, rapeseed leaves and potatoes using hydroponics techniques. “My dream is to become a hydroponics expert,” he says. Hydroponics is a soilless cultivation technique that enables plant growth all year round. It uses up to 90 percent less water and 75 percent less space than traditional agriculture, while growing crops 100 percent faster. The 13-year-old lives in Kitwe, Zambia — a country of 18 million people whose food security is threatened by extreme weather caused by climate change.
Better health and nutrition allow children to learn and perform better, broadening their educational opportunities. School feeding empowers girls by dissuading parents from marrying them off early, acts as an incentive for families to enrol and keep children in school, relieves parents from having to budget for lunches. The WFP strategy (2020 – 2030) lays out its vision of working with governments and partners to jointly ensure that all primary schoolchildren have access to good quality meals in school, accompanied by a broader integrated package of health and nutrition services.
In the year the coronavirus pandemic deepened the global hunger crisis—the World Food Programme (WFP) was at hand, providing life-saving assistance, working to save and change lives, against all odds. Below is a selection of stories from our staff around the world. From building fragile nations’ resilience and helping them graduate out of food insecurity to providing cash assistance that empowers the stigmatized LGBT+ community, WFP saves and changes lives around the world. Pictured is a community resilience project that helps people in Central Sahel fight against the impacts of conflict and hunger through rehabilitation of barren land.
WFP’s fundraising app, ShareTheMeal, was recognized by both Google and Apple as one of the best apps of 2020.
The Training and Reincorporation Centre may sound forbidding but it’s a place where former combatants in Colombia’s conflicts can learn poultry and fish farming with the support of the World Food Programme (WFP). Edgar, a FARC ex-combatant, is one of 187 former combatants and their families who take part in agricultural projects as part of a process to bring them all back into mainstream society. The aim is to train people to diversify both the production and consumption of food; while providing access to local markets.
WFP responds as refugees from Ethiopia seek sanctuary in Sudan
After more than nine years of conflict, life in Syria has never been harder. Food prices are soaring and the life families hoped they would rebuild is further away than ever. In the past year alone, the price of basic foods has increased by a staggering 247 percent. Putting a basic meal on the table has never been so difficult during this crisis, which kicked off in 2011. Each month WFP provides life-saving food to 4.8 million Syrians.
‘One step forward, two steps back’
Coronavirus could push migrant workers and their families into hunger, UN agencies warn