Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Yemen famine

A malnourished Yemeni child receives treatment in Al-Sabeen Hospital in the capital city of Sana'a on October 25, 2021. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

In Urgent Appeal, UN Hunger Agency Warns Millions of People Facing Starvation

"There are now more than 45 million people marching towards the brink of starvation."

Brett Wilkins

Warning that more than 45 million people around the globe—but most acutely in Afghanistan, Africa, and the Middle East—are in imminent danger of starvation, the head of the United Nations World Food Program on Monday urgently appealed to political leaders, the superrich, and people in the Global North for help.

"When there's $400 trillion worth of wealth on the Earth today, shame on us that we let any child die of hunger."

"Tens of millions of people are staring into an abyss," WFP Executive Director David Beasley said in a statement. "We've got conflict, climate change, and Covid-19 driving up the numbers of the acutely hungry, and the latest data show there are now more than 45 million people marching towards the brink of starvation."

Beasley—who traveled to Afghanistan, where the WFP is increasing efforts to provide aid to 23 million people—added that "fuel costs are up, food prices are soaring, fertilizer is more expensive, and all of this feeds into new crises like the one unfolding now in Afghanistan, as well as long-standing emergencies like Yemen and Syria."

In addition to Afghanistan, the WFP identified Yemen—where a six-year, U.S.-backed Saudi-led intervention in a civil war has caused widespread hunger—as well as war-torn Syria, Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Madagascar as the hardest-hit among 43 countries suffering food crises.

In a BBC interview Monday, Beasley—a former Republican governor of South Carolina—said that the situation in Afghanistan "is as bad as you can possibly imagine. Ninety-five percent of the people don't have enough food."

The BBC also interviewed desperate Afghans, who are bracing for an especially cold winter and who are receiving less food aid since the Taliban retook control of the country earlier this year.

"I've got nothing to give the children," said Fatema, a single mother of seven from Bamiyan in central Afghanistan. "Soon I'll have to go out and beg."

The WFP says families facing acute food shortages are being forced to make "devastating choices to cope with the rising hunger."

"In Madagascar, where pockets of famine are already a reality, some are being forced to eat locusts, wild leaves, or cactus to survive," the agency reports.

According to WFP, the cost of averting famine globally is $7 billion. Beasley recently noted that the 400 wealthiest Americans collectively got $1.8 trillion richer during the Covid-19 pandemic and that it would require less than 0.4% of that amount to prevent worldwide famine.

"Imagine that this was your little girl or your little boy or your grandchild about to starve to death, you would do everything you possibly could," he told BBC. "And when there's $400 trillion worth of wealth on the Earth today, shame on us that we let any child die of hunger."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Amid Existential Threat to Reproductive Rights, Congress Urged to Act

"It's the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and if we don't fight like hell it could very well be the last," said one campaigner, who called on U.S. lawmakers to pass the Women's Health Protection Act.

Brett Wilkins ·

Black Mississippi State Senators Stage Walkout as Critical Race Theory Ban Passed

"We cannot continue to stumble into the future backwards," said one Black senator who taught for 33 years. "That's what this bill does."

Brett Wilkins ·

Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist Thích Nhất Hạnh Dead at 95

"He inspired so many good people to dedicate themselves to working for a more just and compassionate world."

Jessica Corbett ·

Draft Order Shows Trump Considered Using Military to Seize Voting Machines

"This was part of the records that Trump was fighting to keep from the January 6th committee," one government watchdog noted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Groups Warn US Lawmakers Against Fueling 'New Cold War' With China

A policy of hostility toward Beijing, says a global justice advocate, has "become a convenient excuse for pushing a corporate, militarist agenda."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo