The number of people facing severe hunger in the world continues to rise, reaching 124 million people across 51 countries. Conflict and extreme climate events remain the main drivers behind severe food crises. Often occurring simultaneously, all dimensions of food security – food availability, access and utilization – are further undermined.
Climate-related shocks and insecurity continue to force a significant number of people to abandon their homes, disrupting their livelihoods, reducing access to income-generating opportunities and putting pressure on limited resources, particularly affecting the food security of displaced populations and host communities.
Prolonged drought conditions resulted in consecutive poor harvests in countries already facing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. Compounding the situation is a high probability of an El Niño event developing by the beginning of 2019. El Niño hazards – usually associated with heavy rains, floods and drought – are expected to further aggravate the food insecurity and coping capacities of vulnerable populations.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of crisis-affected populations and plays a crucial role in fighting hunger. Investing in agricultural support from the onset of a crisis saves lives and enables families trapped by fighting or living in remote areas to rapidly resume local food production and earn an income.
In 2019, FAO is appealing for over USD 1 billion to continue to scale up its response to strengthen the resilience and livelihoods of 31 million people in 24 countries. This will help to address the root causes of increased food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly of those most exposed and vulnerable to shocks.