UN agencies sound alarm over hunger in Gaza, Haiti, Mali, South Sudan and Sudan

United Nations agencies have warned of rising food insecurity in 18 countries across the world in a new report. They are calling for a scaling up of anticipatory action and humanitarian response to fight food crises.

People living in Gaza, Haiti, Mali, South Sudan and Sudan could face catastrophic food insecurity by October if humanitarian action and international efforts fail to unblock access to affected zones, the agencies warn in Wednesday's report. A total of 18 crisis locations are facing a "firestorm of hunger" unless aid reaches them soon.

The UN has been warning of impending famine in Gaza for months. Over 1 million people, or half the population of the Palestinian territory, could face catastrophic food insecurity by mid-July, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). This is due to the devastating impact of the war in the region, severely restricted access to the area and the collapse of food systems, the agencies say.

'Hotspots of hunger'

There are also major concerns about South Sudan. According to the report, weak food production and currency depreciation is leading to a sudden rise in food prices, which is further aggravated by a risk of flooding and waves of internal conflict.

In Sudan, food prices have rocketed as agriculture suffers from violence and looting, and imports are hampered by material and financial difficulties. In Mali, the situation is deteriorating due to the escalation of conflicts and the withdrawal of the UN mission from the country. Haiti, too, was added to the list as rising violence by armed groups disrupts supplies and affects humanitarian access. ​ 

In total, the agencies count 18 "hotspots of hunger", with very worrying levels for Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Syria and Yemen. The report calls for swift action.


Sudanese children carry buckets of water in Pulcam returnee camp near Rumbek, South Sudan © PHOTO JOSE CENDON JOSE CENDON / AFP


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