By Linda Bordoni
In its annual report released on Tuesday, the Global Network against Food Crises warns that war, extreme weather and economic downfall in 2018 have left more than 113 million in dire need of help.
The report points to conflict and insecurity as the two main causes of the desperate situation faced by 74 million people, or two-thirds of those affected – worldwide - in the past year.
Analysing 53 countries, the report ranks its findings according to a five-phase scale with the third level classified as crisis, the fourth as emergency and the fifth as famine/catastrophe.
FAO's senior food crises analyst, warned that millions more are now at risk of reaching level three and above, with huge numbers of people who are not food insecure quite yet, but they are on the verge.
These people, he said, are "so fragile that it just takes a bit of a drought" for them to fall into severe food crisis.
According to the report, of countries that suffered food crises in 2018, the worst affected was Yemen, where nearly 16 million people needed urgent food aid after four years of war, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo at 13 million and Afghanistan at 10.6 million.
It also dramatically forecast that climate shocks and conflicts will continue to cause hunger in 2019, and highlighted special concern for climate change in southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, while the needs of refugees and migrants in Bangladesh and Syria are expected to remain high.
The study excluded 13 countries and territories including North Korea, Venezuela and Western Sahara due to a lack of recently validated data.