Twenty-Two Countries Face ‘Protracted Crises,’ Increased Likelihood Of Food Insecurity, U.N. Report Says

Twenty-two countries “are facing enormous challenges like repeated food crises and an extremely high prevalence of hunger due to a combination of natural disasters, conflict and weak institutions,” the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) and the World Food Program said in the State of Food Insecurity in the World 2010 report (.pdf) on Wedensday, Xinhua News reports.

“According to the report, more than 166 million undernourished people live in countries in protracted crises, roughly 20 percent of the world’s undernourished people, or more than a third of the total if large countries like China and India are excluded from the calculation,” the news service writes (10/6). “Chronic hunger and food insecurity are the most common characteristics of a protracted crisis,” an FAO press release states. According to FAO and WFP, “[c]ountries considered as being in a protracted crisis are those reporting a food crisis for eight years or more,” receiving “more than 10 percent of foreign assistance as humanitarian relief” and occupying a place “on the list of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries.” The proportion of undernourished people in countries experiencing a protracted crisis “is almost three times as high as in other developing countries,” according to the release.

The full food insecurity report comes after “FAO revealed that 925 million people in the world live in chronic hunger” earlier this month, according to the release (10/6). WFP and FAO “called for a significant rethinking of how assistance is delivered to countries in protracted crises,” Xinhua reports. “Protracted crises call for specially designed and targeted assistance,” FAO Director General Jacques Diouf and WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran wrote in the preface of the report. They continue, “Lessons from the experience of many countries show that building longer-term assistance activities in the framework of existing or revitalized local institutions, offers the best hope of long-term sustainability and real improvement of food security” (10/6).

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