65 million more people pushed to extreme hunger since last year is “a stain on our collective humanity,” says Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Foreign aid, Media Releases article written on the 03 May 2023

Today’s “Global Report on Food Crises”, led by the Food Security Information Network (FSIN), says that 258 million people across 58 countries are now experiencing acute hunger – 65 million additional people (up 34%) over last year.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive, Lyn Morgain, said:

“For global hunger to rise for a fifth consecutive year in a world of plenty is a stain on our collective humanity. Decades of progress made to end poverty and hunger are now being fast-reversed by conflict, economic shocks and climate change.

“Arms dealers, warlords, big polluters, and food monopolies are making the planet increasingly uninhabitable, driving more people from their homes and lands and wiping out the income of millions already struggling to put food on the table.

“In East Africa alone, one of the worst affected regions, climate-induced drought and ongoing conflict have left over 36 million people in extreme hunger – nearly the entire population of Canada- up from 24 million last year. Over 85,000 people are already facing starvation. Families are being forced to eat dry leaves, beg, or marry off their girls at young ages to survive.

“While the pandemic and the Ukraine war have made food and energy unaffordable for millions, 95 food and energy corporations made a whopping $306 billion in windfall profits just last year. This is a rigged economic system that exploits and starves the poorest and rewards the richest.

“We need an urgent and fundamental shift in our humanitarian system if we are to put the brakes on the speeding hunger crisis. Funds must be used to equip poor countries to prepare for and cope with reoccurring economic and climate shocks before they happen, and rich donors must immediately inject money to meet the UN appeal for response.

“But just “band-aid” funding will only temporarily delay the problem. We must do more in resolving conflict, inequality, and climate change. Warring parties must lower their guns. Rich polluting nations must cut their emissions. Governments must tax the rich and polluters to free funds for social protection and climate adaptation, to help vulnerable people cope with shocks.

“Oxfam Australia is calling for the Australian government to commit to a further $110 million in a Famine Prevention Package to stop a catastrophe in the worst-affected hunger hotspots in the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria.

“This is a moment in history that will judge whether we will prioritise our collective humanity over greed of a powerful few.”

For interviews, contact Lucy Brown on 0478 190 099/ lucyb@oxfam.org.au