High food prices to push hunger levels to decade high – WFP

High food prices to push hunger levels to decade high - WFP
High food prices to push hunger levels to decade high - WFP

Africa-Press – Eritrea. The World Food Programme(WFP) has warned that a spike in food prices will send hunger levels to decade high.

Food prices have shot up rapidly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, drought and supply constraints arising from the the Russia-Ukraine war.

Kenya is among the three countries listed in the Horn of Africa bearing the brunt of the worst hunger crisis in four decades.

Last month, a two-kilo packet of maize flour hit a historic high of Sh205 with prices of other commodities such as cooking oil, soap, vegetables, rice, wheat flour all increasing.

The increase has pushed inflation rate to a five year high of 8.1 per cent.

The number of people acutely affected with hunger in the country has been projected to reach 3.45 million this year up from 1.35 million in 2019 globally.

This is attributed to four failed rainy seasons in a row that threw the Horn of Africa into the worst hunger crisis in 40 years, with Somalia and Ethiopia as the other two countries worst hit in Africa.

According to WFP over 50 million people in the region are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity this year.

The World Health Organisation classified the drought within its highest level of health emergency.

It is the first time in the agency’s grading system, which started in 2011, where a drought and food insecurity crisis hit this level of emergency.

Food insecurity becomes a health crisis as malnutrition impacts immunity leading to preventable outbreaks — including acute watery diarrhoea, pneumonia, and measles.

Kenya is ranked among the 63 countries with the highest number of undernourished citizens with Food Security and Nutrition in the World stating that the undernourished Kenyans are expected to increase if no action is taken.

According to a research conducted by Food Security and Nutrition in the World between 2019 and 2021, about 14.4 million Kenyans are undernourished.

Globally, the number of people affected by hunger rose to about 828 million in 2021, an increase of 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of Covid-19.

The recent rise in cost of commodities and the climate change are increasing food insecurity.

As at 2020, about 43.6 million Kenyans were not affording a healthy diet against the country’s population of 53 million.

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