The most significant and most imminent crisis facing our planet right now is not pollution. Or the pandemic. Or climate change. Or the economy. Nope, it is hunger. Several countries around the world are dealing with what can only be called famine.
In most LMICs, the vast majority of the populace is going to bed hungry. Even in wealthy nations like the US, 38 million people are hungry. In Peru, people are sharing communal pots to ensure everybody gets something to eat. In Afghanistan, regime change, weather, and geopolitics have combined to leave most women and children facing extreme hunger. Every conflict-ridden zone from Yemen to the DRC to Syria is experiencing hunger.
In Ethiopia, civil unrest is killing 100s of kids who can't get access to food. Somalia is facing a once-in-a-generation famine for the second time in a decade, with a 265% rise in under-nourished young kids from April to May this year.
In Mozambique, most HIV patients are eating only their ARVs because they can't afford food. In Zambia, HIV patients aren't taking their ARVs because their bodies are too malnourished to handle the drugs.
The FAO's latest "State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2022" report says 3.2 billion people around the world can't afford a healthy diet. India, the country with the most newly-minted billionaires recently, is at 107 on the Global Hunger Index.
And funding patterns are making this hunger ratio worse. A new report by Action Against Hungersays countries with the greatest hunger crises actually received less hunger funding than countries with half the rate of hunger. This is after only 7% of UN appeals for hunger relief are funded in any case.
And as is often the case, extreme hunger is chased by severe disease, making the cycle perpetual.
Combined with the still-ongoing pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the global economic downturn, we are at breaking point now. If the world doesn't take urgent action now, we're likely to see multiple revolutions or multiple extinctions.