Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The threat of famine, with people slowly starving to death, must be considered a red line for international peace and security, the UN Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator said, warning that warring groups deliberately use hunger as a tactic of war.
Globally, over 250 million people suffered acute hunger in 2022, the highest in recent years, with about 376,000 people facing famine-like conditions in seven countries – all affected by armed conflict or extreme levels of violence. Another 35 million people are on the edge, Reena Ghelani said.
Hunger and conflict “feed off of each other,” she continued, briefing the Security Council open debate on famine and conflict-induced global food insecurity convened by the United States during its August presidency.
“Armed conflict destroys food systems, shatters livelihoods and drives people from their homes, leaving many extremely vulnerable and hungry. Sometimes these impacts are by-products of war, but all too often they are inflicted deliberately and unlawfully – with hunger utilized as a tactic of war,” she said.
Ms. Ghelani added that food insecurity itself also fuels instability, citing research that shows how food insecurity, when coupled with pre-existing grievances, poverty and inequality, causes people to choose violence over peace.
“It is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, leading to conflict,” she said.