(Xinhua) — About 76 million people will require
emergency food assistance across 45 countries mainly in Africa
in 2018, a food security assessment report released in Nairobi
on Wednesday shows.
The report by the Famine Early Warning
Systems Network (FEWs Net), a donor-funded agency which monitors
food insecurity, warns that four of these countries - South
Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen - face a credible risk of
famine while the Somali region of Ethiopia remains an area of
“Given that no improvement in
underlying conditions is expected in these countries, the
provision of humanitarian assistance will be a primary
determinant of whether famine is averted,” FEWS Net said.
This figure, says the report, is 60
percent higher than in 2015 and only slightly lower than the 83
million people in need during 2017. The decline between 2017 and
2018 is due, almost entirely, to improvements in Southern
According to the report, drought in
Somalia and the Somali region of Ethiopia, and conflict in
Yemen, South Sudan, and northeast Nigeria are the main drivers
of acute food insecurity within these countries.
The report calls on governments and
the international community to ramp up efforts to resolve
conflict, ensure humanitarian access, and make more resources
available for emergency response to help save lives.
It says conflict will be the primary
driver of food security emergencies during 2018, including in
Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, South Sudan,
Syria, and Yemen.
“In these countries, ongoing
insecurity will continue to disrupt livelihoods, limit trade
and market functioning, displace households, and hinder the
delivery of humanitarian assistance,” FEWS Net said.
The report says little improvement is
anticipated during the coming year following unprecedented food
assistance needs in 2017.
“Governments, international agencies,
donors, and other stakeholders should make all possible
efforts to resolve conflict, ensure humanitarian access, and
provide timely, multi-sectoral assistance to prevent
large-scale loss of life,” says the report.
FEWS Net says poor rainfall, and its
impact on crop and livestock production, will also contribute to
a high level of need in some countries.
“In parts of the Horn of Africa, a
severe drought during the past 18 months has decimated
livestock herds and sharply reduced crop production,
particularly in Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia,” it says.
Forecasts also indicate that
below-average rainfall is likely during the spring 2018 rainy
season, in part due to the ongoing La Nina.
In addition, rainfall in some pastoral
areas of West Africa has been mediocre to poor for a third
consecutive year, and forecasts for the upcoming seasons in
Southern Africa and Central Asia indicate an increased
likelihood of drier than usual conditions.
The report warns the size of the food
insecure population is likely to grow in most other countries.
Thirteen countries are expected to have more than 1 million
people (local populations, IDPs, and refugees) in crisis or
worse and in need of emergency assistance during 2018.
“These include: Yemen (15 million);
Syria, South Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, and Nigeria (5.00-6.99
million); Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan (3.00-4.99
million); and Kenya, Iraq, Uganda, and Pakistan (1.00-2.99
million),” FEWS Net said.