The U.S. accounts for roughly 332 million of the world’s estimated 8 billion inhabitants. As staggering as it may sound, the number of flag-waving Americans is dwarfed by the planet’s 2.3 billion residents who according to the U.N., can’t get enough to eat.
The pandemic may have started the food shortage but it’s Vladimir Putin who’s adding to the world’s woes.
According to a U.N official, the invasion of Ukraine has had far-reaching consequences beyond all expectations. “It’s pushing countries not involved in the fighting to the brink of famine as the war continues to cause global destabilization, starvation, and mass migration on an unprecedented scale.”
Head of the U.N. World Food Program, David Beasley, laid out the grim statistics. “A record 345 million acutely hungry people are marching to the brink of starvation.” This represents a 25% increase from the 276 million planetary residents who just at the start of 2022 were already searching for crumbs just prior to Putin’s folly in February.
He went on to say that “there’s a real danger it will climb even higher in the months ahead. Even more worrying is that when this group is broken down, a staggering 50 million people in 45 countries are just one step away from famine.”
Including the World Food Program, four other U.N. agencies were involved in releasing a report that paints anything but a rosy outlook. The report, entitled “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World,” says that nearly 2.3 billion people are staring in the face of hunger.
The gamut ranges from moderately hungry to malnourishment as the world spins out of control. The estimated total of those who have already reached the point of total starvation has risen to around 924 million.
Because of Ukraine’s wheat production, it’s often referred to as the “breadbasket of the world,” according to Beasley. The war has halted its production which “means the number of chronically hungry people in the world is likely already much higher than the 828 million.”
Russia and Ukraine provide the world with one-third of its wheat and barley, and over half of its much-needed sunflower oil. Russia and Belarus, allies in crime, are leading producers of potash which is an essential ingredient needed for fertilizer.
Beasley is hoping for some type of unified world action to get Ukraine’s wheat supply where it’s needed the most. The best bet, in his opinion, would be for individual countries to increase their funding to humanitarian groups that are already actively involved in decreasing “the levels of hunger.”
He suggested that the world start investing in poorer nations to help them increase their own food sustainability. Beasley let his regrets be known. “If we had successfully threaded this needle in the past, the war in Ukraine wouldn’t be having such a disastrous global impact today,” he said.
One more issue that must be addressed is oddly enough the gender gap which has widened. Between Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia, the three biggest offenders, Beasley said, “31.9% of women in the world were moderately or severely food insecure compared to 27.6% of men.”
The U.N. might be guilty of blowing hot air now then, but its new report is chilling. Take heed.