35M people dying from hunger worldwide: UN official
16M children risk death as 150M suffer from malnutrition globally, says Hilal Elver
Over 30 million people are dying from hunger across the world, according to the UN special rapporteur on the right to food.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Hilal Elver said at least 155 million people in 55 countries or regions faced a food crisis last year, adding the number has now increased to 265 million due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
She said: “35 million people around the world are dying from hunger or face risk of dying.”
Elver said that global climate change, economic depression, political instability, epidemics, and conflicts have accelerated the expected food crisis worldwide, adding 821 million people currently have difficulty in accessing food.
She noted forest fires and floods have become more destructive with the climate change experienced in the last 10 years, emphasizing that this will be one of the most important factors that will trigger the food crisis in the coming years.
Underlining that the number of people who do not have access to food in the world increased from 700 million to 821 million, she said: "Although very serious measures were taken, the number of food insecure people increased gradually in the last five years."
"This is alarming as the hunger problem in the world is growing."
The UN expert said climate change and food crisis are global problems that need global policies.
98M face acute food shortage in Africa
Saying that 98 million people face acute food problems in Africa, Elver added South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Haiti are among the 10 top countries that faced the worst food crises in 2020.
She said: “16 million children under the age of five risk death in 55 countries or regions where the food crisis is almost tangible. About 150 million children worldwide suffer from malnutrition.”
She added that Afghanistan will be one of the countries where food problems or acute hunger will be experienced in the coming years, warning that nearly 1 million Afghan children may die due to acute food deficiency.
She warned the African continent may face huge food problems as fertile agricultural lands in North Africa, which are in better condition than Sub-Saharan Africa, were purchased by the rich countries.
She said the climate change and food crisis might trigger a new wave of migration in the world, adding that 80 million people worldwide are on the road.
Turkey is very lucky in terms of biological and climate diversity, but as a Mediterranean country, it also faces a serious risk, she added.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan