Historic Food Crisis throughout the world continues

Somalia Famine

Revelations 18:23:’For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • Russia’s war in Ukraine sparked a historic food crisis. It’s not over
  • Grain is once again leaving Ukrainian ports. The price of fertilizer is falling sharply. Billions of dollars in aid has been mobilized.
  • Yet the world is still in the grips of the worst food crisis in modern history, as Russia’s war in Ukraine shakes global agricultural systems already grappling with the effects of extreme weather and the pandemic. Market conditions may have improved in recent months, but experts do not expect imminent relief.
  • That means more pain for vulnerable communities already struggling with hunger. It also boosts the risk of starvation and famine in countries such as Somalia, which is contending with what the United Nations describes as a “catastrophic” food emergency.
  • All the major causes of the food crisis are still with us

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Africa’s struggle with Drought, War, internal conflict are inflaming the biggest Food Crisis

Deuteronomy 28:1,15“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God

15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:”

Important Takeaways:

  • Africa’s food crisis is the biggest yet – five reasons why
  • Across Africa, from east to west, people are experiencing a food crisis that is bigger and more complex than the continent has ever seen, say diplomats and humanitarian workers.
  • East Africa has missed four consecutive rainy seasons, the worst drought in 40 years, Michael Dunford, the WFP’s East Africa director said.
  • Some 22 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia face high levels of acute food insecurity due solely to the drought, a number projected to rise to up to 26 million by February if the rains again fail,
  • Conflict has long been a driver of hunger. War forces civilians from their homes, livelihoods, farms and food sources. It also makes it dangerous to deliver assistance.
  • The number of displaced people in Africa has tripled over the past decade to a record 36 million in 2022, according to U.N. data. That represents almost half the displaced people in the world. Most were displaced internally within their own countries by conflict.
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which Moscow calls a “special military operation,” added to Africa’s problems.
  • The crisis distracted wealthy governments’ humanitarian agencies for the first half of this year, said a senior Western government official
  • COVID-19 left Africa facing the strongest economic headwinds in years, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • After years of borrowing, countries are struggling to service their debts. According to the IMF
  • African governments have done little to prevent food crises from recurring.

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Food crisis becomes more complex: Head Nurse at FAO questions “Maybe the whole world is hungry and donors are bankrupt”

Revelations 18:23:’For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • Africa’s food crisis is the biggest yet – five reasons why
  • Across Africa, from east to west, people are experiencing a food crisis that is bigger and more complex than the continent has ever seen, say diplomats and humanitarian workers.
  • One in five Africans – a record 278 million people – were already facing hunger in 2021, according to data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It says the situation has worsened.
  • Half a million children’s lives are at risk from a looming famine in Somalia, according to the United Nations
  • “Sometimes mothers bring us dead children,” said Farhia Moahmud Jama, head nurse at the pediatric emergency unit. “And they don’t know they’re dead.”
  • “Maybe the whole world is hungry and donors are bankrupt, I don’t know,” she said. “But we’re calling out for help, and we do not see relief.”

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World Bank warns Food Prices could jump 37% is “human catastrophe”

Rev 6:6 NAS “And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Ukraine war: World Bank warns of ‘human catastrophe’ food crisis
  • The world faces a “human catastrophe” from a food crisis arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, World Bank president David Malpass has said.
  • He told the BBC that record rises in food prices would push hundreds of millions people into poverty and lower nutrition, if the crisis continues.
  • The World Bank calculates there could be a “huge” 37% jump in food prices.
  • This would hit the poor hardest, who will “eat less and have less money for anything else such as schooling”
  • Food prices are at their highest since records began 60 years ago, according to the index, after they jumped nearly 13% in March, following February’s record high.

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French Foreign Minister warns of Global Famine if Invasion of Ukraine doesn’t come to an end

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • French foreign minister warns of global famine
  • France’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the EU must get to grips with the prospect that the war in Ukraine could prompt an “extremely serious” global food crisis.
  • “It’s not sanctions that are making the global food security malfunction, it’s the war,” he said, “because there aren’t any sanctions on food. It’s the war that’s proving problematic, and that will tomorrow bring with it the risk of famine.
  • “We must take charge of this new situation quickly,”

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Farmers and ranchers are concerned about skyrocketing fertilizer prices

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Food Costs Likely To Rise as Farmers’ Expenses Shoot Up
  • Bad policy and unpredictable nature are sending food prices through the roof.
  • “I want to say this loud and clear right now, that we risk a very low crop in the next harvest,” Svein Tore Holsether, the CEO and president of fertilizer giant Yara International, warned in November. “I’m afraid we’re going to have a food crisis.”
  • “Among farmers and ranchers, very few topics are being discussed as much as the skyrocketing cost of fertilizer and increasing concerns regarding availability,” the American Farm Bureau reports.
  • Global food prices were already up by an average of 27.3 percent from a year earlier at the end of November, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index.
  • A mix of increasing poverty and rising food prices is a dangerous cocktail for a troubled planet.

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COVID-19 crisis has led to food crisis, says Italy’s Draghi

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON (Reuters) -The world must ensure access to food supplies as forcefully as it moved to ensure access to vaccines, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at the opening of the United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit in Rome.

“The health crisis (COVID-19) has led to a food crisis,” he said, citing data showing malnutrition in all its forms has become the leading cause of ill health and death in the world.

The U.N.’s first ever Food Systems Summit will take place in September, with the aim of delivering progress on the body’s 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

According to the latest U.N. data, the world’s food system, which involves cutting down forests to plant crops, is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a leading cause of climate change.

“We are off track to achieve the SDGs,” said U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, who first announced his plan to convene the Food Systems Summit in October 2019, before COVID-19 dramatically slowed progress towards SDGs like zero hunger.

After remaining virtually unchanged for five years, world hunger and malnutrition rose last year by around 118 million people to 768 million, with most of the increase likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a major U.N. report.

On internationally traded markets, world food prices were up 33.9% year-on-year in June, according to the U.N food agency’s price index, which measures a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar.

There is increased diplomatic momentum to tackle hunger, malnutrition and the climate crisis this year with summits like the current one, but the challenge is huge.

Guterres said the pre-summit will assess progress towards achieving the SDGs by transforming global food systems, which, he noted, are also responsible for 80% of the world’s biodiversity loss.

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Giles Elgood and Steve Orlofsky)

$400 for a plate of rice and beans? U.N. counts cost of ‘man-made’ famines

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nearly 30 years ago a malnourished two-year-old girl died in front of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a refugee camp in northern Uganda. Two days ago U.N. food chief David Beasley met a starving five-month-old girl at a hospital in Yemen – she died on Thursday.

“What’s the difference today?” Thomas-Greenfield said. “Today we should have better information … We can save lives if we know where to go and if we put the funding toward it.”

Thomas-Greenfield and Beasley both recounted these stories during a U.N. Security Council meeting on food security, where U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that more than 30 million people in over three dozen countries are “just one step away from a declaration of famine.”

“Famine and hunger are no longer about lack of food. They are now largely man-made – and I use the term deliberately. They are concentrated in countries affected by large-scale, protracted conflict,” Guterres told the 15-member body.

He announced the creation of a high-level U.N. task force on preventing famine led by U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock.

“Parts of Yemen, South Sudan and Burkina Faso are in the grip of famine or conditions akin to famine,” Guterres said. “The Democratic Republic of the Congo experienced the world’s largest food crisis last year, with nearly 21.8 million people facing acute hunger between July and December.”

Guterres, Beasley and Thomas-Greenfield also raised particular concern about food shortages in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where Ethiopian government troops began an offensive against Tigray’s former ruling party after regional forces attacked federal army bases in the region in November.

“Food stocks are depleted. Acute malnutrition is rising. The ongoing violence has prevented humanitarians from helping desperately hungry people,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

In war-torn South Sudan, Guterres said 60% of people are increasingly hungry: “Food prices are so high that just one plate of rice and beans costs more than 180% of the average daily salary – the equivalent of about $400 here in New York.”

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

As food crisis threatens, humanitarian aid for North Korea grinds to a halt

FILE PHOTO - Workers unload food aid from a truck in the Sinuiju region of North Korea in this picture taken on December 11, 2008 from a tourist boat on the Yalu River, which divides North Korea and China. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – Humanitarian aid for North Korea has nearly ground to a halt this year as the United States steps up the enforcement of sanctions, despite warnings of a potential food crisis and improving relations with Pyongyang, aid groups say.

International sanctions imposed over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs technically do not cover humanitarian activities, and the United Nations recently adopted a U.S. proposal designed to streamline approval for aid shipments.

But strict interpretations of U.N. sanctions curtailing banking and shipping transactions with Pyongyang, as well as a travel ban for U.S. citizens, have effectively shut down the North Korea operations of most relief groups, according to a dozen officials at U.N. agencies and civilian organizations.

A ban on the shipment of any metal objects, from health diagnostic instruments to spoons to nail clippers, makes it nearly impossible to deliver even basic healthcare to North Korea, the officials say. Farm machines, greenhouses and ambulances, meanwhile, are sitting idle without spare parts.

“The sanctions regime is having unintended consequences on humanitarian operations and relief and assistance activities, notably the collapse of the banking channel and delays in moving supplies into the country,” Mazen Gharzeddine, who oversees North Korea operations at the United Nations Development Programme, told Reuters.

Total funding for U.N. and NGO activities in North Korea has dropped from $117.8 million in 2012 to $17.1 million so far this year, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Financial Tracking Service.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Philadelphia-based NGO that has run farming projects in North Korea for 20 years, said it had halted its programs this year for the first time because of the inability to ship supplies or travel to the country.

London-headquartered Save the Children, which provided food, healthcare and disaster relief, pulled out in November citing operational obstacles.

Geneva-based Global Fund, which had funnelled more than $105 million since 2010 to fight tuberculosis and malaria, closed its North Korea operations in June. It blamed risks in deploying resources and the lack of access and oversight for the withdrawal.

While exemptions are allowed for humanitarian aid, officials say they have faced delays of more than a year for even basic aid deliveries, as well as months waiting for U.S. government permission to travel to North Korea.

That is hurting efforts to help ordinary citizens in a country where some 40 percent of the population – or more than 10 million people – need humanitarian assistance and about 20 percent of children suffer from malnutrition, according to U.N. estimates.


This month, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said North Korea faces a “full-blown food security crisis” after state media warned of an “unprecedented natural disaster” due to the heat wave.

Another U.S. relief group, which requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said it worried the heatwave could lead to crop damage and loss of life.

However, U.N. agencies and AFSC said it was too early to forecast any impact of the heatwave until the autumn harvest season, and satellite images show crops appear healthy compared to last year.

North Korea experienced a crippling famine in the 1990s when a combination of bad weather, economic mismanagement and the removal of fuel subsidies paralyzed its state-run rationing system, killing up to three million people.

North Korea’s economy contracted by 3.5 percent in 2017, the sharpest rate since the 1990s famine, as international sanctions and drought hit growth hard, South Korea’s central bank said last month.

When asked about sanctions’ impact on aid, a State Department spokesperson told Reuters sanctions will continue “until nukes are no longer a factor,” without elaborating.

U.S. President Donald Trump held an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June in Singapore and quickly declared the country no longer posed a nuclear threat. Despite positive words since from Trump, the two countries have struggled to agree on how to end the North’s weapons programs.

“We are dismayed that, just as there is a thaw in U.S.-DPRK relations, the U.S. government is doubling down on sanctions, effectively shutting down the work of U.S. NGOs working on the ground,” said Linda Lewis, who runs AFSC’s agricultural projects there. The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

Lewis said when she applied for a special passport to travel to North Korea in October, it took her 10 days, but when she made a second request in May, she had to wait for 56 days.


Lack of transparency and restricted access have long been a hurdle for relief workers in North Korea, even before international funding dried up under Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear and missile development.

Nearly 20 international civic relief groups were active as of 2010, but that number has more than halved, according to aid workers operating in North Korea.

Only a handful of mostly American NGOs now remain, complementing the work of the WHO, the U.N. Development Programme, U.N. World Food Program and UNICEF.

The U.N. had to stop nutrition support for kindergartens in North Korea in November due to the lack of funding. Its $111 million “2018 Needs and Priorities Plan” is nearly 90 percent under-funded.

After visiting North Korea last month, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said sanctions are exacerbating humanitarian problems. There was “very clear evidence” of aid needs, but funding was falling short, he added.

Seoul has not yet delivered on its pledge made last September to give $8 million to the WFP and UNICEF to support North Korean children and pregnant women.

South Korea will make a donation “at an appropriate time considering overall circumstances”, Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Eugene said.

Early this month, a U.N. panel that monitors sanctions against North Korea adopted U.S.-backed guidelines designed to facilitate humanitarian assistance to North Korea.

But aid officials say the rules still leave plenty of ambiguity.

For example, one U.S. NGO pointed to a provision that “strongly recommends” shipments be consolidated into one every six months, which it said was unfeasible for many groups.

“If the true intention is not to harm humanitarian efforts, then there should be more will and commitment on the part of every government … to make sure that humanitarian efforts go forth unimpeded,” an official at the agency said, requesting anonymity due to sensitivity of the matter.

“Truly, for humanitarian organizations, it is death by a thousand cuts.”


(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin. Editing by Soyoung Kim and Lincoln Feast.)

Armyworm hits northern Cameroon, worsening food crisis

YAOUNDE (Reuters) – Crop-eating fall armyworms have attacked nearly 37,000 hectares of maize in northern Cameroon, officials said on Wednesday, accentuating an already dire humanitarian crisis provoked by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram’s cross-border insurgency.

More than two dozen African nations have reported outbreaks of the invasive Central American variety of the pest, which is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart.

They have now spread to all of Cameroon’s 10 administrative regions, though maize crops in the Extreme North region have only been heavily affected since July, Deputy Agriculture Minister Clementine Ananga Messina told Reuters.

“The armyworm attack endangers the entire maize sector and is creating serious risks of food insecurity, because it’s the most commonly grown cereal in Cameroon,” she said.

The Extreme North region bordering Chad and Nigeria has been hit hard by Boko Haram, whose campaign of violence and cross-border attacks has sent more than 93,000 Nigerians fleeing into Cameroon where some 235,000 people have also been displaced.

Across the Lake Chad region around 1.5 million people are confronting a food crisis, according to the United Nations.

Cameroonian authorities have launched an action plan to fight against the infestation, but so far pesticides have failed to contain it.

“There are no effective means to fight armyworm currently existing in Cameroon,” said Agriculture Ministry expert Andre Marie Elombat Assoua. “The chemical products now being used by farmers are ineffective and too expensive.”

Around 12 million Cameroonians, more than half of the national population, regularly consume maize. It is also an important ingredient for the central African nation’s breweries and in the production of feed for livestock.

Though the fall armyworm prefers maize, it also attacked sorghum and millet, two of Cameroon’s other staple crops, earlier this year.

(Reporting by Anne-Mireille Nzouankeu; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alison Williams)