While the FAO’s 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report provides an analysis on the 820 million people who are chronically food insecure, Luca Russo, FAO’s Senior Strategic Advisor on Resilience, stated that the 2019 GRFC “zooms into the urgent action required on the more than 113 million people across 53 countries experiencing acute hunger and requiring urgent food, nutrition, and livelihoods assistance.” This number represents a slight improvement over the 124 million people presented in the 2017 GRFC; however, the latest report indicates that more than 100 million people have faced periods of acute hunger over the past three years.
Africa remains disproportionally affected by acute food insecurity, with 58 percent of the world’s total across 33 countries, while 24 percent are in the Middle East, 13 percent in South and Southeast Asia, and 5 percent in Latin America/Caribbean and Ukraine. The worst food crises in 2018, in order of severity, occurred in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan, South Sudan and northern Nigeria. These eight countries accounted for two thirds, or nearly 72 million people, of the total number of people facing acute food insecurity.
The importance of providing food relief to the large number of people in need is reflected in the increasing amount of international humanitarian assistance, which totalled US$27.3 billion in 2017. While humanitarian assistance is critical to saving lives, it does not address the root causes of food crises.