The number of people across the world who are afflicted with hunger for the year of 2016 went on a historic rise. This would mark the fastest increase in the number of people struggling with hunger globally in almost a hundred years. The reality of increasing global hunger and impediment to food supply is mostly as a result of increasing violence across the world as several nations are embroiled in crisis. Another factor instigating the worrying rise in global hunger has been the many natural disasters, which are clearly connected to a changing world climate.
From 2015 to 2016, the number of people suffering hunger jumped 38 million, to total 815 million people worldwide. Findings from the United Nations give substance to these unsettling reports and are something that illustrate significant concerns with food security. These figures show that a full 11% of humans all across the world are facing concrete food insecurity. Also, economies of countries across the world are getting constrained with the availability of financial resources for public infrastructure, which allow for the effective distribution of food in the first place.
A report released by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in collaboration with four other agencies (IFAD, WFP, UNICEF, and WHO) published reports showing the seeming impossibility of meeting global food goals in the face of the worsening tides of food insecurity. Pertaining to the figures detailing the declining food situation across the world, the report says, “These recent estimates are a warning signal that achieving the goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition by 2030 will be challenging. Deteriorations have been observed most notably in situations of conflict, often compounded by droughts or floods, linked in part to the El Nino phenomenon.”
According to the study, a significant percentage of afflicted people live in areas plagued with violence and conflicts. Such political insecurity has greatly impinged on the access of the general populace to food supplies or even self-supporting agricultural expeditions. Such hunger incited by violence is more prevalent in African countries like South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria, where many are living in famine. The waves of violence also extend to Yemen, which has greatly triggered sordid inadequacies in food supply.
Malnourishment in these nations is on a rise almost unchecked with food prices leaping up disproportionately alongside a shortage of grains being noted across the world. There has been an economic deterioration in a number of nations with a shriveling national treasury arising from a slump in the export value of minerals as well as oil. Countries with economies greatly tied to the export of these commodities have felt the pangs with domestic food prices.
Some major findings from the report reveal that over 11 percent of people in Asia are hungry. Also, one-fifth of the whole African population is equally submerged in hunger. In correspondence with the case of malnourishment across the world, over 154 million children are shorter than the supposed height they should be based on their real age. Also, 52 million children don’t measure up to the natural weight they are supposed to have on the basis of age. Figures also reveal that malnourishment affects over 33% of people in Eastern Africa. While in a parallel development, adult obesity is on an unabated swell across the Western world.
Even in the developed West, natural disasters have pressured food security. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left a massive bout of destruction in the US and the Caribbean. Hurricane Harvey in particular destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes. Irma wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico leaving throngs of people homeless while destroying the nation’s entire power grid, created massive food shortages, reducing medical supplies and creating the situation where a mass exodus to the US could occur, prompting warnings from senior US officials.
With the economic nerve of those affected cities largely hit, these natural disasters triggered a humanitarian crisis especially to the supply of food. Helicopters have been used in the delivery of emergency food supplies to the affected people with no power or food. This adds up to the situation of global hunger being where it is.
What is most disturbing is that these crises will worsen due to the negative affects of climate change. The Department of Defense in the United States released a report in 2015 outlining their concerns with climate change and how it could significantly impact the overall security of the United States (click here for the full report). That said, there is a significant and increasingly successful force afoot in the political realm of US politics that is sowing the seeds of climate change denial. According to many legitimate sources, including articles from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Scientific American, the fossil fuel industry is the driving force behind climate change denial through a sustained and concerted misinformation campaign going back decades. Since it appears that that situation will not resolve itself anytime soon, the world must prepare for increasing humanitarian disasters caused by climate change, and the disruptions in food supply and conflicts of desperation that result.