With more than 41 million people facing emergency levels of food insecurity this year, UN agencies have decided to find ways to stop the advance of famine and famine-like conditions.
“Famine is a threat. It exists. There are almost certainly people dying as a result of it today that we can’t see,” the UN relief coordinator, Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths said in a virtual meeting.
“And when famine finally opens the door, it goes viral in a way that other threats perhaps don’t.”
The 41 million people threatened with famine represent a 50 per cent increase in the last two years, Xinhua news agency quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as saying.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme met with the Group of Friends on Action on Conflict and Hunger to discuss recent efforts to stop the advance of famine, famine risk and urgent action to prevent a further deterioration in acute food insecurity.
The participants of the meeting also heard about the efforts over the last six months of the High-level Task Force on Preventing Famine, OCHA said.
Those attending the international teleconference included representatives of UN member states.
Only last week, Griffiths said the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray produced famine-like conditions for 400,000 people.
In March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres established the famine task force at the Security Council debate on conflict and food security to bring attention to the issue and mobilize support for the most affected countries.