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Publication | 2022

Hunger Hotspots: FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity: June to September 2022 Outlook

Acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further in 20 countries during the outlook period from June to September 2022. Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen remain at the highest alert level as in the previous edition of this report. In the current report, Afghanistan and Somalia have been added to the list. These countries all have some populations identified or projected to experience starvation or death (Catastrophe, IPC Phase 5) or at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions, and require the most urgent attention.

In Afghanistan, catastrophic conditions (IPC Phase 5) are present for 20 000 people in Ghor due to limited humanitarian access during the March to May period. In the outlook period, acute food insecurity is projected to increase by 60 percent year-on-year.

After projecting 401 000 people facing Catastrophic conditions (IPC Phase 5) in Tigray, Ethiopia, in 2021, only 10 percent of required assistance arrived in the region until March 2022, and local agricultural production – which was 40 percent of the average – was critical for food security and livelihoods. A recent “humanitarian truce” remains fragile but has allowed for some convoys to reach the region. The Famine Review Committee’s 2021 scenarios of a Risk of Famine for Tigray might remain relevant, unless humanitarian access stabilizes.

Although no populations were projected to be in Catastrophe (CH Phase 5) in Nigeria in the outlook period, the record-high levels of acute food insecurity are of serious concern. Importantly, the population in Emergency (CH Phase 4) is expected to reach close to 1.2 million people during the peak of the lean season from June to August 2022, including in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe where some local government areas continue to be inaccessible or hard to reach.

In Somalia, a Risk of Famine has been identified through June 2022, under a scenario where rains are significantly below average, food prices increase further, conflict and displacement increase and humanitarian assistance remains insufficient – 81 000 people will face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) between April and June.

In South Sudan, a Famine Likely situation, which was present in some areas in 2021, was averted by improved coordination of humanitarian assistance, and hence the projected number of people in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) was reduced slightly, to 87 000 between April and July. That said, the situation remains of highest concern.

In Yemen, the food security situation deteriorated significantly compared to last year, including a strong increase in the number of people in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), which are projected to reach 161 000 over the outlook period. There is also a Risk of Famine projected for some areas.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the Sahel region, the Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic remain countries of very high concern, as in the previous edition of this report.

In this edition, Kenya is added to the list. This is due to the high number of people in critical food insecurity coupled with worsening drivers expected to further intensify life-threatening conditions Sri Lanka, West African coastal countries (Benin, Cabo Verde and Guinea Ukraine and Zimbabwe have been added in the list of hotspot countries compared to the January 2022 edition of this report. Angola, Lebanon, Madagascar and Mozambique remain hunger hotspots.

Organized violence and conflict remain the primary drivers for acute hunger, with key trends indicating that conflict levels and violence against civilians continued to increase in 2022. Moreover, weather extremes such as tropical storms, flooding and drought remain critical drivers in some regions.

Ripple effects of the war in Ukraine have been reverberating globally against the backdrop of a gradual and uneven economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, steadily increasing food and energy prices, and deteriorating macroeconomic conditions. Disruptions to the Ukrainian agricultural sector and constrained exports reduce global food supply, further increase global food prices, and finally push up already high levels of domestic food price inflation. Additionally, high fertilizer costs are likely to affect yields and therefore the future availability of food. Adding to the economic instability, civil unrest could emerge in some of the most affected countries in the upcoming months. Finally, humanitarian organizations are seeing sharp cost increases for their operations and reduced global attention risking to translate into increasing funding shortages.

Targeted humanitarian action is urgently needed to save lives and livelihoods in the 20 hunger hotspots. Moreover, in six of these hotspots – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – humanitarian actions are critical to preventing starvation and death. This report provides country-specific recommendations on priorities for emergency response as well as anticipatory action to address existing humanitarian needs and ensure short-term protective interventions before new needs materialize.