The Hunger Hotspots Report which was released by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), says Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen remain the countries of highest concern.
The report issued an early warning for urgent humanitarian action in what they described as 20 “hunger hotspots” where part of the population was likely to face a significant deterioration of acute food insecurity in the coming months, that will put their lives and livelihoods at risk.
To identify hunger hotspots, FAO and WFP assessed how key drivers of food insecurity are likely to evolve and have combined effects across countries in the coming months, and the related risks of deterioration.
In South Sudan, one of the four countries of highest concern, conflict and constrained humanitarian access, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, economic challenges, and elevated food prices, are worsening the situation. Communities have also had to grapple with severe flooding that has caused widespread displacement, damage to agricultural production, the destruction of livelihoods, and compounded existing issues in many regions.
In Nigeria, insecurity and high inflation rates are aggravating acute food insecurity. The situation is of highest concern in conflict-affected Borno State, where around 13,500 people are projected to slide into catastrophic acute food insecurity if humanitarian and livelihood-building interventions are not sustained.
There has been no update for Ethiopia since the July-September 2021 projection when experts concluded that 401,000 people in the Tigray region would likely be facing famine-like conditions. For the agencies, this lack of data is of serious concern. Acute food insecurity levels are likely to have increased and could further rise beyond the Emergency and Catastrophic levels already identified in the last report.
The Horn of Africa, a region already prone to food insecurity, is now facing a third season of drought, driven by La Niña. In Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, the worst affected countries, projections indicate that food insecurity will rise beyond the region’s already high levels by mid of the year. In the Sahel, a weak rainy season has severely affected crop and pasture development.