224 million people suffer hunger in sub-Saharan Africa

The number of people suffering from chronic undernutrition in sub-Saharan Africa surged to 224 million last year � 12 per cent higher than in 2015, the UN warned on Thursday.

Citing conflict and climate change as the main factors for the increase in the condition � which is linked to stunting and wasting � the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said that the region now contains a quarter of the world’s undernourished people.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The surge in hunger in sub-Saharan Africa announced by FAO indicates that the gains made in improving people’s nutrition in the region during the first decade of the century have been lost.

The UN agency says that the change is linked to severe food insecurity caused by an increasing number of conflicts � and disastrous weather in many part of east and southern Africa.

FAO spokesperson Andre Croppenstedt highlighted the need to help vulnerable communities quickly, citing how displaced people in northern Uganda had been encouraged to return to farming after the country’s civil war:

“The damage is not irreparable, but the speed of recovery depends of course on how well coordinated and funded the responses are. The experience of Uganda shows that this can be reasonably quick recovery if communities are supported in rebuilding their assets, roads, irrigation, but also given support in terms of restarting productive activities through feed and fertilizer.”

In its latest report, FAO points out that more than one-third of the world’s worst conflicts are in the region, which encompasses 46 countries.

And of 19 nations suffering long-running crises around the world, 13 are in sub-Saharan Africa.

The key clashes responsible for this include those in South Sudan, Somalia and the Lake Chad region � situations that are in some cases too unsafe for humanitarian workers to operate.

Source: United Nations Radio