45 million on the brink of hunger… the United Nations is sounding the alarm and the numbers are jumping in Afghanistan

The United Nations World Food Program on Monday sounded the alarm over the number of people on the brink of starvation in 43 countries, which it said had risen to 45 million, as acute hunger escalated around the world.

WFP explained that the rise from 42 million people earlier in the year was largely due to a food security assessment that found an additional 3 million people facing starvation in Afghanistan.

“Tens of millions of people are on the brink of conflict, climate change and COVID-19 are increasing the number of people suffering from acute hunger,” a WFP statement quoted its Executive Director David Beasley as saying.

“The latest data shows that there are now more than 45 million people on the brink of famine,” he added after a trip to Afghanistan, where the World Food Program is increasing its support for some 23 million people.

“Fuel prices are rising, food prices are rising, fertilizers are getting more expensive, and all of this is fueling new crises like the one now unfolding in Afghanistan, as well as protracted emergencies like Yemen and Syria,” Beasley added.

The UN program said that the cost of averting famine globally is now $7 billion, compared to $6.6 billion earlier this year, warning that traditional sources of funding are out of capacity.

He noted that families facing acute food insecurity are forced to “make devastating choices” such as marrying children off early, taking them out of school or feeding them to locusts, wild leaves or cacti.

“Meanwhile, media reports from Afghanistan indicate that families have been forced to sell their daughters, in a desperate attempt to survive,” he added.

He added that multiple droughts in Afghanistan have coincided with economic collapse and pushed families to the brink of starvation, while some 12.4 million people in Syria do not know where their next meal will come from, a number higher than at any time during the decade-long conflict.

The Rome-based agency noted an increase in acute hunger in Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia, Angola, Kenya and Burundi.

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