On February 20, 2017, the world awoke to a headline that should have never come about: Famine had been declared in parts of South Sudan, the first to be announced anywhere in the world in six years. This was on top of imminent famine warnings in northern Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen, putting a total of 20 million people at risk of starvation. The formal famine declaration in South Sudan meant that people were already dying of hunger. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s political turmoil created massive food shortages in both the city and countryside, leaving millions without enough to eat in a region that, overall, has low levels of hunger. As the crisis there escalated and food prices soared, the poor were the first to suffer.
Despite years of progress, food security is still under threat. Conflict and climate change are hitting the poorest people the hardest and effectively pitching parts of the world into perpetual crisis. Although it has been said that “hunger does not discriminate,” it does. It emerges the strongest and most persistently among populations that are already vulnerable and disadvantaged.
The 2017 Global Hunger Index, jointly published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhilfe, tracks the state of hunger worldwide, spotlighting those places where action to address hunger is most urgently needed. This year’s index shows mixed results: Despite a decline in hunger over the long term, the global level remains high, with great differences not only among countries but also within countries. ……………….