ROME – The world faces an exponential increase in hunger fueled by the climate crisis if urgent global action to help communities adapt to climate shocks and stresses is ignored, warns the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) United before World Food Day, October 16.
WFP analysis shows that a 2 ° C increase in average global temperature from pre-industrial levels will see 189 million more people go hungry. Vulnerable communities, the vast majority of which depend on agriculture, fishing and animal husbandry and contributing the least to the climate crisis, will continue to bear the brunt of the impacts with limited means to cushion the blow.
“Vast swathes of the globe, from Madagascar to Honduras to Bangladesh, are in the grip of a climate crisis that is now a daily reality for millions of people. The climate crisis is fueling a food crisis, ”said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
Tens of thousands of lives are at risk in southern Madagascar, one of many potential places in the world today where conditions bordering on famine have been brought on by climate change. Consecutive droughts have pushed nearly 1.1 million people into severe famine. Almost 14,000 of them are in near starvation conditions and this number is expected to double by the end of the year. Up to 63 percent of people in the south of the country are subsistence farmers who have seen their livelihoods collapse and their only source of food dried up due to the drought.
The climate crisis: a multiplier of threats
Coupled with conflict, the climate crisis exacerbates existing vulnerabilities, exacerbating damage, destruction and desperation. Extreme weather events in conflict-affected areas destroy already scarce resources available to families and even hamper humanitarian efforts reaching communities. In Afghanistan, a severe drought linked to conflict and economic hardship left a third of the population in shock with hunger.
“If this is the new normal, we cannot continue to waver from disaster to disaster. We must go beyond simply picking up the pieces after the crisis and managing climate risks so that they no longer have the power to destroy the food security of vulnerable communities. This is where WFP’s unique expertise comes in, ”added Beasley.
Manage risks rather than disasters
WFP helps communities adapt to climate change that threatens their ability to produce food, secure their income and withstand shocks. It has supported 39 governments, helping them achieve their national climate ambitions.
In 2020, WFP implemented climate risk management solutions in 28 countries, benefiting more than six million people to be better prepared for climate shocks and stresses and to recover faster. WFP has mobilized nearly $ 300 million for climate action over the past decade.
In Bangladesh, WFP is helping communities affected by heavy monsoons and floods with pre-disaster cash assistance so that they can purchase food and medicine, protect essential assets, and transport livestock and families to shelters. safe places. By using early warning data to trigger action, WFP has enabled households to prepare for the impacts of floods and prevent loss and damage. This reduced the cost of emergency response by more than half.
WFP, in collaboration with partners, protected 1.5 million people in Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe and The Gambia against catastrophic droughts through climate risk insurance, as part of the ‘Africa Risk Management Capacity Replication Initiative.
“Conflict is making millions of people hungry today, but the climate crisis has the potential to overshadow conflict as the main cause of hunger tomorrow. We urgently need to invest in early warning systems and climate adaptation and resilience programs to avert this looming humanitarian catastrophe, ”said Beasley.
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