41 million face famine threat, UN bids to avert crisis

41 million face famine threat, UN bids to avert crisis

About 0.5% of the worldwide population is on the brink of famine this year, with $6 billion in funding needed to avert a crisis, the United Nations’ World Food Programme warned.

More than 500,000 people are already facing famine in Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen, with 41 million more “teetering on the very edge” across 43 countries, the agency said Tuesday during a statement. That figure has climbed by quite half since 2019, stoked by conflict, global climate change and economic shocks.

A recent surge in prices for staples, including depreciating currencies, is compounding food insecurity in countries including Nigeria, Lebanon and Zimbabwe. Global corn prices have nearly doubled from last year, and wheat costs are up by 30%, said the agency, which was the newest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“I am heartbroken at what we’re facing in 2021,” said David Beasley, the WFP’s executive . “I want to stress just how bad it's out there. Today, 41 million people are actually knocking on famine’s door.”

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