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Food SecurityGlobal issues

Oxfam: Acute hunger has surged in climate hot spots

September 16, 2022

As poorer countries suffer the most from extreme weather, the charity has slammed major polluting countries in the West over a "stark demonstration of global inequality."

Afghan men carrying sacks of food aid
Afghanistan is one of several countries where climate change is contributing to a hunger crisisImage: Sanaullah Seiam/Xinhua/picture alliance

The number of people facing acute hunger has more than doubled in the world's climate change hot spots, according to an Oxfam report released on Friday.

The report found that extreme hunger has risen by 123% over the past six years in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Somalia and Zimbabwe — the 10 countries with the highest number of United Nations aid appeals driven by extreme weather events.

Across these countries, 48 million people are estimated to suffer from acute hunger, which is defined as hunger resulting from a shock and causing risks to lives and livelihoods. In 2018, that figure was 21 million people.

"Climate change is no longer a ticking bomb, it is exploding before our eyes," Oxfam's international chief Gabriela Bucher said.

"It is making extreme weather such as droughts, cyclones, and floods — which have increased five-fold over the past 50 years — more frequent and more deadly."

Appeal for international action to combat climate-related hunger

Oxfam said climate-fueled hunger is a "stark demonstration of global inequality" because the least-polluting countries are the most affected by droughts, floods and other extreme weather events.

Bucher said Western countries could forgive debt to free up resources in affected countries, and should also help pay to tackle climate-fueled hunger globally.

"They must pay for adaptation measures and loss-and-damage in low-income countries, as well as immediately inject lifesaving funds to meet the UN appeal to respond to the most impacted countries," Bucher said.

The UN humanitarian appeal for 2022 comes to $49 billion, which Oxfam noted was equivalent to less than 18 days of profit for fossil fuel companies, when looking at average daily profits over the last 50 years.

zc/rt (AFP, dpa)