It has been estimated by the UN that 735 million people were in a “state of chronic hunger” last year. This is an unprecedented crisis, and CNN even admitted this year that we are experiencing the worst food crisis in modern history.
Unfortunately, due to lack of coverage on mainstream media outlets, many Americans are unaware of the immense suffering currently occuring around the globe as a result of this crisis. The Western world has felt some effects from this global food emergency in the form of higher grocery store prices.
While these prices can be inconvenient for us here at home, those who live without consistent access to food face a much more dire situation.
Every day, children starve to death while no one is paying attention. It is essential that we all become aware of this heartbreaking reality and do what we can to help those affected by it.
By 2022, approximately 735 million people – or 9.2% of the world’s population – found themselves in a state of chronic hunger – a staggering rise compared to 2019. This data underscores the severity of the situation, revealing a growing crisis.
In addition, an estimated 2.4 billion people faced moderate to severe food insecurity in 2022. This classification signifies their lack of access to sufficient nourishment. This number escalated by an alarming 391 million people compared to 2019.
The persistent surge in hunger and food insecurity, fueled by a complex interplay of factors, demands immediate attention and coordinated global efforts to alleviate this critical humanitarian challenge.
We have never seen numbers like this before.
And the final numbers for 2023 will inevitably be even higher, because crops are failing all over the planet.
For example, this has been a catastrophic year for rice crops in India…
Satish Kumar sits in front of his submerged rice paddy in India’s Haryana state, looking despairingly at his ruined crops.
“I’ve suffered a tremendous loss,” said the third generation farmer, who relies solely on growing the grain to feed his young family. “I will not be able to grow anything until November.”
The newly planted saplings have been underwater since July after torrential rain battered northern India, with landslides and flash floods sweeping through the region.
The government of India responded to this crisis by banning the export of non-basmati white rice, but this has created a massive problem for the dozens of countries that rely on rice exports from India…
Last month, India, which is the world’s largest exporter of rice, announced a ban on exporting non-basmati white rice in a bid to calm rising prices at home and ensure food security. India then followed with more restrictions on its rice exports, including a 20% duty on exports of parboiled rice.
The move has triggered fears of global food inflation, hurt the livelihoods of some farmers and prompted several rice-dependent countries to seek urgent exemptions from the ban.
More than three billion people worldwide rely on rice as a staple food and India contributed to about 40% of global rice exports.
Without rice exports from India, the possibility of increased starvation in impoverished countries across Africa and the Middle East is becoming a real threat.
Despite desperate pleas from vulnerable nations to resume exporting non-basmati white rice, India has yet to take action, thus causing the price of rice to skyrocket while supplies dwindle.
This looming reality poses an urgent question – what steps would you take if your own child was facing malnutrition?
In Somalia, that is actually happening to half of all children under the age of five…
In Somalia, families are currently facing a catastrophic food crisis. This is the result of a severe and prolonged drought and decades of conflict that have destroyed crop production and made it almost impossible for herders to find food for their animals.
Unfortunately, the most vulnerable are children, with 50% of children under five in the country experiencing acute malnutrition.
Here in the western world, our children are not starving. So we should be thankful for that.
But the lines at our food banks are getting longer. Here is an example from the state of Ohio…
Kam McKenzie, SNAP outreach manager for the food bank, said the Liberty Street pantry is seeing 940 more families per month since the end of February, when COVID-era SNAP benefits were halted.
“So now we’re averaging maybe a little over 300 families a day coming into our Liberty Street pantry to shop for groceries,” said McKenzie.
Based on the amount of food given out by Freestore, she estimated the demand on the pantry is up 27% compared to June of 2022.
And we are experiencing problems with our crops too.
In the middle of the country, seemingly endless drought conditions have greatly affected corn crops this year…
Lack of rain has hit crops hard: In Missouri, for example, 40% of the state’s corn crop was classified as poor or very poor, according to the drought monitor. Iowa, the nation’s top corn producer, is in the midst of its worst drought in a decade with about 80% of the state in some measure of drought.
Prolonged drought has even reached the banks of Lake Superior: Parts of Wisconsin have the most severe drought designation for the first time since the 1999 inception of the U.S. Drought Monitor, said Dennis Todey, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Midwest Climate Hub.
“It’s the severity of the drought and the length of the drought that are causing some confounding issues right now,” he said.
Unfortunately, we are still only in the very early stages of this new global food crisis.
Multiple long-term trends are combining to create a potentially dire situation in regards to feeding the global population in the years ahead. Our politicians are aware of this, but have chosen not to address it publicly due to fears that it could spark alarm among the general population.
Unfortunately, there will be no avoiding this issue.
Even now, hundreds of millions of people do not have access to sufficient food and, if current trends continue, it won’t be long before we see more than one billion facing chronic hunger.