Rome: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday that the number of people edging to famine in 43 countries had risen to 45 million while acute hunger spikes globally, Agence France-Presse reported.
The UN food agency said that a food security assessment had found that famine in Afghanistan added another 3 million vulnerable, to the 42 million noted earlier this year. WFP is supporting almost 23 million in Afghanistan.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley said that conflict, climate change and Covid-19 are the factors now driving up the numbers of the acutely hungry. He added that rising fuel costs, food prices, and fertilizer costs all feeds the crisis, which is happening in Afghanistan and long-standing emergencies like Yemen and Syria.
The agency said that the cost of averting global famine stands at seven billion dollars, up from 6.6 billion earlier this year. Also, traditional funding streams were overstretched.
Families facing the crisis are forced to take extreme steps like marrying off their children early, taking them out of school, feeding them locusts, wild leaves or cactus. Also, there were reports of children being sold as families desperately attempted to survive.
Afghan is also fighting the aftermath of multiple droughts with an economic meltdown. In Syria, 12.4 million people "do not know where their next meal will come from," WFP said. The agency added that the acute hunger crisis is seen in Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia, Angola, Kenya, and Burundi.