WHY THIS UPDATE?
The Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC), released annually, provides a consensus-based view of the numbers of people in urgent need of assistance for food, nutrition and livelihood support at the worst point during the previous year. For the last three years the report has indicated that despite the efforts of national governments and humanitarian actors, the number has not fallen below 100 million people globally, with conflict and insecurity, climate-related issues and economic shocks being the primary drivers of food insecurity.
Humanitarian agencies, governments and other stakeholders need to be able to better understand and respond effectively and promptly to food crises with immediate life-saving assistance and livelihood support as well as preventive action, including resilience-building programmes and longer-term development policies. To do so they need the most recent consensual evidencebased analysis. They need to know the severity of the situation in terms of numbers of acutely food-insecure people and whether the situation is improving, deteriorating or stable, and why so.
The GRFC partners are responding to that need to support timely responses and preventive actions to food crises by issuing this analytical mid-year update of the GRFC 2019 with the use of relevant information made available by September 2019.
Data gaps and comparability challenges
This update is aimed at providing the latest estimates for as many crises as possible out of the 66 countries and territories initially selected for the GRFC 2019 based on the criteria listed below:
• They required external assistance for food as assessed by FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) in 2018
• And/or they experienced at least one food crisis in the past three years or at least three food crises in the past 10 years
• And/or they were affected by climate shocks/natural disasters; conflict, insecurity, localized violence or political instability; or economic shocks that had a major impact on food security or that the Government could not handle without external assistance
• And/or hosted large numbers of displaced populations whose food security was affected and required external assistance.
While the main table in the GRFC 2019 provided the peak number of food-insecure people in need of urgent action in 2018 for 53 countries and territories, this update provides estimates of the peak number for 36 of those countries with new food security information from the first eight months of 2019.
By September 2019, there were no updated estimates available for the 17 remaining countries and territories, which are therefore omitted from this update. These are countries hosting Syrian refugees (Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey), the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Palestine in the Middle East; countries hosting Venezuelan migrants (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru) in Central America and the Caribbean; Afghanistan, Bangladesh (Cox’s Bazar) and Myanmar in Asia; Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Libya in Africa, and Ukraine in Eastern Europe.
These data gaps include five of the eight worst food crisis countries: Afghanistan, Ethiopia and the Syrian Arab Republic did not have updated information, while the information from Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are not comparable with 2018 data due to differences in geographical coverage. In 2018 the food-insecure populations of these five crises amounted to over 54 million people, or almost half of the total number of food-insecure people included in the annual report.
Eleven countries had data comparability challenges due to differences in geographical coverage and percentage of the population analysed. These were the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, eSwatini, the Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique,
Pakistan, the Sudan, Yemen and Zambia. It was not feasible to provide an accurate update of the aggregate peak number of people in need of urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance during the first eight months of 2019 because of these data gaps.
Thirty-six of the 66 countries selected for analysis in 2019 had updated estimates available for this report while analysis from 25 were comparable.