United Nations: 18 million people on the coast of West Africa face severe hunger

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GENEVA – The United Nations is warning that 18 million people in sub-Saharan Africa will face severe hunger in the next three months, citing the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine, coronavirus epidemics, climate-induced shocks and rising costs.

The hunger crisis could force a growing number of people to evacuate the affected areas, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Friday.

The region has the highest number of people at risk of severe hunger since 2014, and four countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger – are facing “alarming levels”, with an estimated 1.7 million people facing emergency food insecurity, according to the UN agency.

Some parts of the Sahel region, a vast expanse south of the Sahara Desert, have experienced their worst agricultural production in more than a decade, and food shortages could worsen with the onset of thin seasons in late summer, spokesman Thomson Fir said. UN Nobel Peace Prize winner, head of the World Food Program.

“The situation is definitely going to get worse before it gets better,” he told reporters in Geneva. “We may see that more people are trying to end up immigrating: this is a very, very likely possibility.”

Many people in the region are among the migrants who want to move to Northern Europe in the hope of economic opportunities, more stability and security.

“The combination of violence, insecurity, deep poverty and record-high food prices is exacerbating malnutrition and putting millions on the brink of survival,” OCHA chief Martin Griffiths said in a statement.

“The recent rise in food prices due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine threatens to turn the food security crisis into a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said. The two countries are the main producers of wheat, barley and other agricultural products, and the conflict has almost completely cut off exports through the Black Sea.

The Griffiths Office is releasing $ 30 million from its Emergency Relief Fund for four African countries.

Humanitarian groups began applying for অঞ্চ 3.8 billion in aid to the region in 2022 earlier this year, but they remained at 12% funding, the OCHA said.

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