Number of people suffering from acute hunger might double

Berlin, 15 October 2020

World Food Day on 16 October draws attention to the 690 million people worldwide who are currently suffering from hunger. The number has been rising again for the past three years, mainly due to armed conflicts and natural hazards. The corona pandemic is also causing increased poverty and hunger. In a new regional programme, Johanniter supports women and children in particular to improve their nutritional situation.

On 9 October 2020, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The timing is appropriate due to the urgency of the situation.

Every one of the 690 million hungry people in the world today has the right to live peacefully and without hunger.
David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP

But reality looks different: According to the United Nations, the number of people suffering acute hunger could almost double to 270 million by the end of 2020 compared to the same period last year. This stands in contrast to the chronic underfunding of UN programmes to meet this demand for sufficient food for all.

"In addition, hunger crises are becoming increasingly complex," says Susanne Wesemann, director of Johanniter International Assistance. "In Africa, floods, conflicts, political tensions and a plague of locusts overlap in some regions at the same time." In addition, the Corona pandemic has led to a sharp increase in poverty, especially in Latin America. And poverty leads to hunger.

Stabilisation of malnourished infants

A women is feeding her child with a mug
In South Sudan we provide malnourished children with supplementary food.

To combat malnutrition, a regional programme was launched in August this year with financial support from the German Federal Foreign Office in South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya. In South Sudan, a country marked by internal conflict and displacement, the programme is aimed primarily at 32,000 children under five and pregnant women. They will be provided with supplementary food if they show signs of malnutrition or referred to our stabilisation centre for in-patient care. WFP supports our activities by providing supplementary food for around 20,000 people.

Preventing hunger

A refugee in his garden
In Uganda, we support refugee families in improving food production.

Many South Sudanese have fled to their neighbour country Uganda because of violence and poverty. In recent months, we have been working with our partner CEFORD to help refugee families to improve food cultivation. Over the next three years, our partner CEFORD will support mothers and their children in improving their nutrition, implement the construction of latrines and provide hygiene trainings to prevent diseases. All our activities contribute to the global goal of moving one step closer to a world without hunger by 2030.

What means acute hunger?

Acute hunger is the most extreme form of hunger and often occurs in relation with droughts, wars and disasters. The term famine is commonly used for this. Acute hunger stands for malnutrition over a definable period of time, which mainly affects people who already suffer from chronic hunger.

A young women working in a greenhouse

Young Entrepreneurs

In Kenya, our partner organisation I Choose Life has been supporting young people in agriculture in the past months. Innovative approaches were used to adapt to changing climatic conditions.

Learn more

Food Security and Income Generation

In order to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable people before, during and after disasters and crises, we  implement comprehensive income and food security programmes in project countries together with our partners.