The Arab world witnessed a 91.1 per cent increase in hunger since 2000, affecting 141 million people, a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations revealed yesterday.
The 2021 Near East and North Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report said the increase was a result of “protracted crises, social unrests and exposure to multiple shocks and stresses such as conflicts, poverty, inequality, climate change, scarce natural resources and the economic repercussions associated with the recent COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Conflicts continue to be one of the leading causes of hunger in the region, with approximately 53.4 million people facing hunger in countries and areas affected by conflict, which is more than six times higher than in non-conflict countries,” said FAO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa, Abdulhakim Elwaer.”There may be no visible improvement in the situation this year since hunger’s primary drivers will continue to drag the situation further down the road,” Elwaer added.
War-torn Somalia, Iraq and Yemen were found to have the highest prevalence of undernourishment between 2018-2020. Figures were unavailable for Libya, the occupied Palestinian territories or Syria.
Somalia, Libya and Sudan were found to have the highest rates of food insecurity, with the report finding conflict countries suffered with this nearly 2.5 times as much as states which enjoyed stability.
“Conflict-affected countries of the region performed worse on undernutrition indicators compared to non-conflict countries,” the report outlined.