‘Triple threat’ has Africans facing hunger catastrophe

Caritas Australia CEO Kirsty Robertson during her visit to Ethiopia (Caritas Australia)

The triple threats of conflict, COVID and climate have created the perfect storm, leaving the world facing an unprecedented hunger crisis, writes Caritas Australia’s Kirsty Robertson. Source: Eureka Street.

Currently, 928 million people around the world are struggling to find food. Of that number, 49 million people across 46 countries are on the brink of famine. Huge numbers, shocking numbers, to be honest, quite unbelievable numbers. Certainly bigger and more frightening than I’ve seen in over 20 years working in the humanitarian sector.

Last month I travelled to Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa and spent time in northern Ethiopia, visiting an Internally Displaced Persons camp filled with thousands of people – families, the elderly, children.

These people are facing an impending hunger crisis – many are already receiving well less than the required calories per day or surviving purely on wheat alone. People living in these camps have no money, no opportunity to grow produce and there is little prospect of returning to their homes anytime soon.

This is just one camp with 21,000 people, but the scarcity of food and water is common across the Horn of Africa. With the staff of our partner, Caritas Ethiopia, we witnessed the life-giving work that they are doing in these IDP camps.

Here in Australia, we are worried about the food and fuel prices rising, and we should be. But imagine a small bottle of vegetable oil costing four times as much today as it did two years ago. Imagine waiting for days in a queue to get petrol that is also several times the price it used to be. Imagine watching another rainy season pass you by, when you can’t afford to buy the seeds to plant next year’s harvest, so you know that this life-threatening hunger will not end anytime soon.

We are now facing a very real, and very serious and far-reaching hunger crisis. We are facing a humanitarian crisis with a potentially catastrophic death toll.

Caritas Australia is as a member of Help Fight Famine, a coalition of community and humanitarian organisations united in the call for urgent action from the Australian Government to respond to the global hunger crisis with a $150 million hunger aid package.

To help provide urgent aid and assistance to vulnerable communities affected by the food crisis, visit www.caritas.org.au/africa-food-crisis.


Impending catastrophe leads calls to help fight famine (Eureka Street

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