Malnutrition rates in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Yemen worsened in the latter part of 2018, the UN said Monday in a report highlighting the links between conflict and food scarcity.
By contrast, some improvements were noted in Somalia, Syria and the Lake Chad Basin countries thanks to an improved security situation.
Overall, some 56 million people across eight conflict zones need emergency food assistance and assistance to support their livelihoods, according to the report compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WPF).
The research “clearly demonstrates the impact of armed violence on the lives and livelihoods of millions of men, women, boys and girls caught up in conflict,” said FAO director Jose Graziano da Silva.
“I would strongly encourage you to keep in mind that behind these seemingly dry statistics are real people experiencing rates of hunger that are simply unacceptable in the 21st century.”
David Beasley, director of the WPF, said the UN needed better and quicker access to conflict zones to provide help.
“But what the world needs most of all is an end to the wars,” he added.
According to the report, acts of violence against humanitarian workers are on the rise, sometimes leading to a suspension of operations and depriving vulnerable populations of aid.
A significant deterioration in food security is expected this year in the lean season — from June to August — in the Lake Chad Basin, including parts of Nigeria and Niger, where Boko Haram militants are active.