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Humanitarian organizations estimate one person dying of hunger every four seconds

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Action Against Hunger
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As world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly, 238 civil society organisations demand urgent action to save lives now.

[NEW YORK, 20 SEPTEMBER] — With one person estimated to be dying of hunger every four seconds, 238 local and international non-governmental organisations are calling on leaders gathering at the 77th UN General Assembly to take decisive action to end the spiralling global hunger crisis.

Organisations from 75 countries have signed an open letter expressing outrage at skyrocketing hunger levels and recommendations for action. A staggering 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger, a number that has more than doubled since 2019.

Despite promises from world leaders to never allow famine again in the 21st century, famine is once more imminent in Somalia. Around the world, 50 million people are on the brink of starvation in 45 countries.

Mohanna Ahmed Ali Eljabaly from the Yemen Family Care Association, one of the letter’s signatories, said:

"It is abysmal that with all the technology in agriculture and harvesting techniques today we are still talking about famine in the 21st century. This is not about one country or one continent and hunger never only has one cause. This is about the injustice of the whole of humanity. It is extremely difficult to see people suffering while others sharing the same planet have plenty of food. We must not wait a moment longer to focus both on providing immediate lifesaving food and longer-term support so people can take charge of their futures and provide for themselves and their families."

Sumaya, a 32-year-old mother who lives with her four children in a displacement camp in the Somali region of Ethiopia, is one of the millions facing catastrophic levels of hunger.

"No water, no food, a hopeless life,” she said. “Above all, my children are starving. They are on the verge of death. Unless they get some food, I'm afraid they will die."

The global hunger crisis has been fuelled by a deadly mix of poverty, social injustice, gender inequality, conflict, climate change, and economic shocks, with the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine further driving up food prices and the cost of living.

Those with the power and money to change this must come together to better respond to current crises and prevent and prepare for future ones.

NOTES TO EDITOR

  1. The calculations of the estimated mortality rate from hunger per second was calculated by applying the IPC crude death rate cut offs for IPC Phase 3, minus a normal daily death rate of 0.22 per 10,000 people per day, to the recent Global Report on Food Crises mid-year update for 2022 (released 12/09/22) figure which is 205.1 million people in IPC Phase 3 Acute Food Insecurity or worse (IPC Phases: 3 Crisis, 4 Emergency and 5 Catastrophe), which require immediate humanitarian assistance. This would equal between 7,745.7 and 19,701.7 people dying daily as a result of acute hunger, and between 5.39 and 13.69 people dying per minute. That translates to one person dying every 4.25 – 12 seconds. This is a conservative estimate since the death rates for people in IPC Phase 4 and 5 are significantly higher.

  2. Current acute hunger levels are 345 million; they were 135 million in 2019: https://www.wfp.org/publications/wfp-global-operational-response-plan-update-5-june-2022.

  3. Open letter, signed by 238 NGOs from 75 countries, together with policy recommendations, can be viewed here: https://sdg2advocacyhub.org/news/open-letter-un-member-states-global-food-crisis.

Press release endorsed by:

• Action Against Hunger

• CARE International

• Concern Worldwide

• Islamic Relief Worldwide

• Oxfam International

• Plan International

• Save the Children International

• World Vision International

• Yemen Family Care Association