This week I’m moving away from luxury travel and global culinary experiences to shine a light on a subject which is near and dear to me, food insecurity. This is also a topic which many in our community who have traveled the world have seen up close. But hunger is one issue which we can actually help to fix. We can all help to tackle the world’s hunger problems.
Famine is one of those words that sometimes gets overlooked if you live in a country of a good economic state. Some turn a blind eye and fail to recognize the widespread scarcity of food in other parts of the world, where death is inevitable.
What’s Going On?
Famine has been declared this year in South Sudan, northeastern Nigeria, central Somalia and many areas of Yemen. About 1.5 million children are at risk of facing death across the four countries. Over 22 million children are hungry, sick and in desperate need of healthcare according to UNICEF. Several factors are contributing to this global crisis such as political conflicts, population imbalance, country’s economic state, extreme weather conditions and more. A lot of children are suffering from malnutrition, and the majority of these kids were displaced out of school because of sickness and starvation; a secondary concern but one which creates a downward spiral in the country’s ability to rise from these issues.
For a country like South Sudan, famine is mainly caused by war and drought. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification report, as of February of this year, 40% of South Sudan residents are in urgent need of food, crops and nutrition assistance. The numbers are expected to increase up to a staggering 50% by the middle of this year. World organizations like UNICEF are working tirelessly to provide aid to life threatening injuries caused by the lack of food. The World Food Programme has provided many relief efforts during the war and is doing everything they can to help save the lives of innocent children during this state of disparity.
In parts of Nigeria particularly the northeast, about half a million children are deeply affected according to UNICEF. The United Nations reported 14 million people are in urgent need of aid and hundreds and thousands of children are suffering from malnutrition under the age of 5.
The United Nations calls it “the world’s worst hunger crisis” since 1945 at their latest aid conference held in Geneva last April. The organization said even with the $1.1bn pledge from supporting countries from around the globe, it’s just not enough and not even close to solving the hunger crisis. Half a million people are acutely malnourished in Yemen, and two million of them are children who die because of preventable causes. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you hear that one child dies every 10 minutes. A sad fact that even the world’s best leaders can’t stop. Security is a big issue in some parts of these countries, and one of the greatest problems is that a lot of the people who are in urgent need of care are inaccessible due to war and other conflicts.
People are not only dying from malnutrition but also from other illnesses associated with these regions, such as cholera and other related diseases. Organizations like Save the Children have operations across Somalia and have helped thousands of people. With those significant numbers, sanitation is still a big problem, and food supplies remain exhausted as the demand continues to grow.
What Can Be Done?
This crisis has brought a lot of countries to step up and help provide relief to one of the world’s toughest problems. The Canadian Government’s Famine Relief Fund has matched all donations made to UNICEF between March 17 to June 30 of this year. Funds will help provide therapeutic food treatment for children suffering from acute malnutrition.
The European Union quickly responded to the cry for help when South Sudan was first declared famine back in February and donated
€82 million worth of emergency aid. This package provided care to those who urgently needed help and also provided support to other neighboring countries who have massive influx of refugees.
We can all do our part by seeking out these organizations who are working around the clock and giving what we can. Every dollar counts and will surely help save a life. A $10 donation, for example, can provide two months’ worth of micro nutrients to four children according to UNICEF. Make today count and find out how you can help. Together, we can make a difference.
Cristina Carpio is a television personality, brand and restaurant strategist as well as a passionate food and beverage expert. Travel and living life to the fullest is in her DNA. In addition to hosting Going Global, Cristina is a country ambassador for a global immersive dining platform and has a column for a noted North American food and beverage industry magazine. She has also been recognized for her work and involvement in charitable and community projects and has hosted several prestigious festivals, fashion and cultural events.