WASHINGTON: From record droughts to catastrophic floods, the world’s worst climate hotspots are seeing a surge in acute hunger, according to an Oxfam report that called on rich nations to drastically cut their emissions and compensate low-income countries.
The analysis, Hunger in a heating world, found that acute hunger had risen 123 per cent over six years in the ten most-affected nations, defined by the most number of UN weather appeals.
“The effects of severe weather events are already being felt,” Lia Lindsey, Oxfam America’s senior humanitarian policy advisory told AFP, adding the report was timed to pressure world leaders at the UN General Assembly to act.
The countries – Somalia, Haiti, Djibouti, Kenya, Niger, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe – have repeatedly been battered by extreme weather over the last two decades.
An estimated 48 million people across those countries suffer acute hunger, defined as hunger resulting from a shock and causing risks to lives and livelihoods and based on reports compiled by the World Food Programme.
That figure is up from 21 million people in 2016; 18 million people are on the brink of starvation.
The report acknowledges the complexity surrounding the causes of global hunger, with conflict and economic disruption – including those from the COVID-19 pandemic – remaining key drivers.
“However, these new and worsening weather extremes are increasingly peeling away the abilities of poor people particularly in low-income countries to stave off hunger and cope with the next shock,” it said.
Somalia, for example, is facing its worst drought on record, forcing 1 million people to flee their homes.