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Over one mln people in Palestine at risk of starvation — report

It is reported that armed violence and conflict remain the primary causes of acute food insecurity across numerous hunger hotspots

ROME, June 5. /TASS/. Over one mln people in Palestine are expected to face death and starvation by mid-July, according to a joint report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP).

Apart from Palestine, Mali, South Sudan and Sudan "remain at the highest concern level." FAO and WFP experts note that acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate in 17 countries or territories and one regional cluster between June and October 2024.

In particular, the document warns that broader regional ramifications could exacerbate food security needs in Lebanon and Syria. Besides, Burkina Faso, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Chad and Ethiopia are listed as hunger hotspots.

"Armed violence and conflict remain the primary causes of acute food insecurity across numerous hunger hotspots. In these situations, widespread displacement, destruction of food systems and reduced humanitarian access are likely to worsen food availability and access," the report reads. "Conflict and displacement also continue at an alarming pace and magnitude in Sudan, deepening the burden on neighboring countries hosting a steadily growing number of refugees and returnees - especially in South Sudan and Chad. In Yemen, anticipated increases in freight and insurance costs, due to the Red Sea crisis, are expected to push up the cost of staple foods and other imports. This will aggravate the ongoing economic crisis, compounded by increasingly low and unpredictable humanitarian assistance," the document added.

Risk factors

The report points out that geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as potential new waves of escalation, remain a major risk for the global economy in 2024. "Increased energy and transportation costs, currency depreciation and challenges in financing food imports could exert upward pressure on domestic prices in numerous vulnerable countries in 2024," the document says.

Besides, weather extremes, such as heavy rains, tropical storms, cyclones, flooding, drought and increased climate variability, remain significant drivers of food insecurity.

The UN agencies emphasized the need for additional investment in integrated solutions to ensure greater food security.