ROME, November 23. /TASS/. The global number of people on the brink of starvation nearly doubled in the past year, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other international organizations in Rome Viktor Vasilyev told TASS, commenting on the outcome of the annual session of the Executive Board of the World Food Program.
"Several years ago, we recorded a positive trend as the number of starving people was gradually declining but we saw quite an opposite picture in the past two years. The situation deteriorated further this year. In the past, about 260 million people needed emergency food aid and now, the number is at least 285 million in more than 45 countries," the diplomat pointed out. "At the same time, the number of people on the brink of starvation stood at 28 million last year and according to the latest data, 45 million people are on the brink of starvation at the moment. The circumstances of armed conflicts are the main cause of it," Vasilyev added.
The situation is particularly deteriorating in Afghanistan, where over half of the population is starving. "The World Food Program welcomed the aid that Russia had earlier provided to Afghanistan earlier," the envoy noted. According to him, the situation in Syria is also far from improving with 6.5 mln people in need of emergency food and humanitarian aid.
This year, the World Food Program provided aid to 90 mln people, spending over $8 bln. "Given the rise in demand, the World Food Program estimates that efforts to ensure the minimum level of aid will require $13.5 bln next year," Vasilyev emphasized.