The world is going through a massive food crisis. Globally, the effects of conflict, climate change and COVID-19 are leading to a rapid increase in food insecurity.
As the crisis in Ukraine continues to deepen, one of its consequences is the rapid rise in food and fuel costs. As a result, the state of hunger worldwide is also getting worse. With food supply chains collapsing and prices rising, time is running out for children, especially girls living in famine zones.
Existing problems are growing
When food is scarce, girls often eat less and eat last. As families are increasingly forced to resort to emergency solutions, existing problems are intensifying. Girls are more likely to drop out of school, marry, get pregnant prematurely, or be sexually exploited. Families are under great pressure due to increased food insecurity. Women, infants, adolescents and children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition.
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Famine is imminent
Dr. says. Oni Krishnan, director of global humanitarian affairs at Plan International. “Ukrainian harvest usually feeds 400 million people, and as the conflict continues every day, devastating effects are seen on a large scale as food prices soar. They are making a bad situation more dangerous. Acting early saves lives, and now is the time to act.”
Go to bed hungry
According to the United Nations, about 928 million people were acutely food insecure last year, an increase of 148 million over the previous year. In countries where hunger is already on the rise, one in eight people – many of them women and children – sleep hungry. 44 million people are on the brink of famine, famine or famine-like conditions. Up to 45 million children suffer from the most severe form of malnutrition. The United Nations has warned that unless life-saving humanitarian aid is urgently increased, 300,000 people will starve to death every day.
The conflict in Ukraine will drive up food prices
Food price hike
Already devastated by starvation, the Central Sahel region of West Africa is highly dependent on wheat imports, a supply chain severely disrupted by the Ukraine crisis, added Sven Cobbins, Director of Plan International West Africa. The conflict in Ukraine will cause food prices to rise. This means that the hunger crisis in countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger is getting worse.”
By 2022, more than 61 million people are expected to require humanitarian assistance and protection in West and Central Africa. In Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, more than 20 million people are in dire need of food and water. Millions of families’ crops failed, while thousands of livestock starved or perished.
Food prices have been rising for months in drought-stricken areas of the Horn of Africa. It is the result of economic problems and disappointing crops, which means that families can no longer afford their basic needs. Meanwhile, many water points have dried up, forcing women and girls to travel longer distances to get water. This also increases their risk of experiencing gender-based violence.
Read also: Drought in the Horn of Africa puts millions of girls at risk
Dire consequences for girls
In other parts of the world, such as Guatemala and Lebanon, families can only survive if they pick up their children from school. Then they can work to earn income.
While the effects of food insecurity are ubiquitous, the consequences for adolescent girls are often unrecognized. Girls are exposed to new risks of sexual exploitation, abuse, violence and intimidation. Their well-being and future prospects are undermined by being taken out of school and forced into work.
This is what Plan International does
Plan International is taking action in 17 hungry districts with programs including school feeding, cash and voucher assistance, and food distribution.
In other projects, we support livelihood recovery, distributing seeds or livestock, including cows or sheep, to drought-affected communities. In the event of a flood, alternative fishing gear such as nets, boats and other supplies can be distributed.