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Global Report on Food Crises

This report compiled by the Global Network Against Food Crises, which includes the UN World Food Programme, measures the severity of food crises worldwide and how they are exacerbated by other crises. Check out the summary of the report here:

"By the end of 2020, the global goal of achieving ‘zero hunger’ by 2030 seemed increasingly out of reach. This follows another annual rise in the numbers of acutely food-insecure people in need of urgent food, nutrition and livelihood assistance. The GRFC focusses on food crises where the local capacities to respond are insufficient, prompting a request for the urgent mobilization of the international community, as well as countries/ territories where there is ample evidence that the magnitude and severity of the food crisis exceed the local resources and capacities needed to respond effectively. It provides estimates for populations in countries/territories where data are available based on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and Cadre Harmonisé (CH) or comparable sources. At least 155 million people in 55 countries/territories were in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) in 2020, an increase of around 20 million people from 2019. Among the 39 countries/ territories included in the GRFC since 2016, the number of people in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent has increased from 94 million to 147 million people, reflecting worsening levels and wider geographical coverage.

Around 28 million people across 38 of the 43 countries/ territories with IPC/CH analyses were in Emergency or worse (IPC/CH Phase 4 or above) and required urgent action to save lives and livelihoods. Most people in these dire circumstances were in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan and Yemen – with at least 2 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in each country.


The worst food crises in 2020

Of the 55 food crises identified in 2020, 10 stood out in terms of the number of people in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent – six of these were in Africa (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan, northern Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe), two in the Middle East (the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen), one in the Americas (Haiti) and one in South Asia (Afghanistan). For the third consecutive year, three conflict-affected countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen and Afghanistan – had the largest populations in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above). These three, plus the Syrian Arab Republic, accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total population in these phases. In terms of prevalence, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic had more than half of their analysed populations in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above) or equivalent. Five countries – Afghanistan, Haiti, Lesotho, Yemen and Zimbabwe – had between 40 and 45 percent of their analysed populations in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above). Twelve countries saw large increases in absolute terms between 2019 and 2020. The biggest increases in the populations in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Nigeria, the Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic. Other countries that saw a major increase were Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Honduras, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Uganda. In 2020, over 15.8 million children under 5 years old living in the 55 food crises were suffering from wasting. Nearly half of these (7.2 million) lived in the 10 worst food crises (by number of people in IPC/CH Phase 3 or above).

The situation was particularly concerning in northern Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan, which accounted for more than a third of all children affected by wasting in food-crisis countries. The nutrition situation was particularly critical in countries affected by protracted conflict. Of the 10 countries/territories with the highest prevalence of wasting, eight (Yemen, South Sudan, the Sudan, the Niger, Somalia, Chad, northern Nigeria, and Burkina Faso) are affected by protracted conflict. Conflict and insecurity have disrupted the channels of food access and the functioning of basic health and sanitary services, severely affecting the nutritional status of the most vulnerable, especially women and children. The 10 countries experiencing the worst food crises in 2020 were particularly affected by nutrition and health service disruptions mostly due to COVID-19 restrictions. In six out of the nine countries with data, vitamin A supplementation dropped nationally by at least 25 percent. The drop exceeded 50 percent in Afghanistan, northern Nigeria and the Sudan. In the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, the implementation of wasting treatment programmes dropped by 25–49 percent.


The grim outlook for 2021 Food crises are becoming increasingly protracted and the ability to recover from new adverse events is becoming more difficult. Conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and large-scale economic crises are expected to extend food-crisis situations in 2021, necessitating continuing large-scale humanitarian assistance. Over 142 million people in 40 out of the 55 countries/territories included in this report are forecast to be in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) in 2021. Around 155 000 people will likely face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in two of these countries through mid- 2021, with 108 000 in South Sudan and 47 000 in Yemen. No forecasts were available for the 15 remaining countries/territories at the time of publication. Five of the major food crises are expected to have at least 12 million people in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above), led by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (27.3 million) and Yemen (16.1 million), followed by Afghanistan (13.2 million), Ethiopia (12.9 million) and northern Nigeria (12.8 million)."

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