‘Worse Than the Arab Spring’ – UN Warns 49 Million Face Famine, Food Insecurity

SANA'A, YEMEN - APRIL 02: People affected by war wait to receive free meals provided by a charitable kitchen in the Mseek area on April 02, 2022 in Sana'a, Yemen. A two-month nationwide truce in Yemen was agreed on Friday between a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-allied Houthi group, and …
Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

The current state of global food insecurity is worse than the conditions that preceded the Arab Spring, leaders from global food organisations have warned.

A joint report this week from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) claimed that there are currently 49 million people in 46 countries who are at risk of falling into famine or famine-like conditions, including 750,000 people already in catastrophic conditions.

Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen remained at the highest alert level from the previous report, and now Afghanistan and Somalia have been added to the list.

The authors of the report pointed to the impacts of the Chinese coronavirus, which has resulted in global supply chain issues due to government lockdowns, as well as the impacts of the war in Ukraine and climate factors as exacerbating the “multiple, looming food crises”.

David Beasley, a former U.S. state governor and the executive director of the World Food Programme, told Euractiv that the global food crisis could result in widespread social unrest on a greater scale than the Arab Spring, which saw mass uprisings and armed rebellions across the Middle East in the early 2010s.

“We’ve already seen what’s happening in Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru, and Sri Lanka – that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” the former Republican governor of South Carolina said, adding that the current crisis is a “perfect storm” that will severely impact the poorest people and “overwhelm millions of families who until now have just about kept their heads above water”.

Commenting on the report, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, formerly of the Communist Chinese government, said UN agencies are “deeply concerned about the combined impacts of overlapping crises jeopardising people’s ability to produce and access foods, pushing millions more into extreme levels of acute food insecurity”.

“We are in a race against time to help farmers in the most affected countries, including by rapidly increasing potential food production and boosting their resilience in the face of challenges,” he said.

While globalist figures such as European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen have attempted to lay the blame for the growing food crisis at the doorstep of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine — one of the world’s largest grain and fertiliser producers — Russia has claimed that Western sanctions are intensifying the problem and holding up exports.

African leaders have also expressed scepticism over the West’s blaming of Russia, with the head of the African Union, Macky Sall, warning European lawmakers earlier this week that a growing sentiment that the West is in fact to blame for the food crisis “is out there”.

Sall went on to call for “all partners to lift sanctions on wheat and fertilizer” in order to prevent further devastation.

Regardless of blame, Europe is once again facing the prospect of an acute migrant crisis, with European Union nations and the United Kingdom typically the destination point for migrants from the Middle East and Africa, which are the main centres of the looming food crises.

Indeed, the threat of a renewed migrant crisis was acknowledged by officials from Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, and Spain during a meeting in Venice over the weekend, in which they called on the EU to make preparations for the inevitable waves of migrants landing on their shores.

The EU, which is already struggling with or bracing for a massive influx of refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan, has long been warned that the food crisis could lead to a repeat of the 2015-16 crisis in which over one million migrants flooded into the bloc.

WFP Director David Beasley said back in March that the EU is facing the potential for a “Hell on Earth” migrant crisis should the food crisis get worse.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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