The number of people experiencing acute food insecurity has remained persistently above 100 million over the last four years. In 2019, the figure rose sharply to 135 million across 58 countries, driven by more conflict, climate extremes and economic turbulence. This number has since significantly increased including due to the compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the next Global Report on Food Crises will be launched in April 2021 by the Global Network Against Food Crises, a dramatic increase in the numbers of people in acute food insecurity is evident through new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analyses or similar analytical processes in countries where the IPC/Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analyses have not been undertaken, with 174 million people in IPC Phase 3 or worse in the 58 countries covered.
Of absolute urgent and imminent concern today are more than 34 million people in IPC Phase 4 across the world who already face emergency levels of acute food insecurity and are highly vulnerable to face famine or famine-like conditions without urgent immediate life-saving action.The situation requires urgent action at scale. By the time famine is declared many lives will already be lost; the wider impact on child development, poverty and people’s lives will endure for years to come; and the stripping of productive livelihood assets will increase dependence on external assistance.
Within this Call for Action, FAO and WFP are urgently seeking USD 5.5 billion to swiftly scale up actions to avert famine through a combination of humanitarian food assistance, cash and emergency livelihoods interventions.