UNITED NATIONS, Jan 29 (APP):Around 56 million people are in need of urgent food and livelihood assistance in eight conflict zones around the world where starvation is mainly used as a tool of war, according to a new U.N. report.
In a joint U.N. report, prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) for the U.N. Security Council, Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic are the five zones that experienced conflict-driven food insecurity the most in the latter part of 2018.
“This report clearly demonstrates the impact of armed violence on the lives and livelihoods of millions of men, women, boys and girls caught up in conflict,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva states wrote in the report’s foreword.
“I would strongly encourage you to keep in mind that behind these seemingly dry statistics are real people experiencing rates of hunger that are simply unacceptable in the 21st century,” he added.
Violence against humanitarian workers is also on the rise, sometimes forcing organizations to suspend their life-saving operations, leaving those at risk, even more vulnerable. Every single country covered in the report, saw attacks carried out on aid workers and facilities last year.
“This report shows again the tragic link between conflict and hunger and how it still pervades far too much of the world. We need better and quicker access in all conflict zones, so we can get to more of the civilians who need our help. But what the world needs most of all is an end to the wars,” WFP chief David Beasley wrote in the foreword.
The Security Council’s Resolution 2417 condemns unequivocally, starvation as a tool of war. It calls on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to minimize the impact of military actions on civilians, including on food production and distribution, and to allow humanitarian access in a safe and timely manner to civilians needing lifesaving food, nutritional and medical assistance.
“The millions of men, women and children going hungry as a result of armed conflict will not be reduced unless and until these fundamental principles are followed”, the joint UN agency report said.
* Yemen’s three-year war is a stark demonstration of the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities to address the world’s largest food security emergency. In its country analysis, the report states that conflicting parties disregarded the protected status of humanitarian facilities and personnel.
* The Democratic Republic of the Congo had the second highest number (13 million) of acutely food insecure people, driven by a rise in armed conflict, during the second half of 2018.
* In South Sudan, after more than five years of war, the lean season is expected to start earlier than normal, according to the report, pushing those in need of urgent support up to more than 5 million between January and March, 2019.
* In the Lake Chad basin including north-eastern Nigeria, Chad’s Lac region and Niger’s Diffa, where extremist groups are highly active, a major deterioration in food security is projected during this year’s lean season beginning in June, and three million people are expected to face acute food insecurity.
* In Afghanistan, the percentage of rural Afghans facing acute food deficits is projected to reach 47 percent (or 10.6 million people) by March if urgent life-saving assistance is not provided.
* In the Central African Republic, armed conflict remained the main driver of hunger in 2018, with 1.9 million people experiencing a severe lack of food.