Four more countries are facing food emergencies that could lead to starvation there, according to two United Nations (UN) agencies.
These four countries are Sudan, Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Mali. While rival armed factions are struggling for power in Sudan, wars and conflicts have aslo plagued Burkina Faso, Mali, and Haiti.
These four countries join Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen at the highest alert levels, with communities that are already facing or projected to face starvation or otherwise risk a slide "towards catastrophic conditions", according to World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The report by WFP and the FAO calls for urgent attention to save both lives and jobs. Beyond the nine countries rating the highest level of concern, the agencies said 22 countries are identified as "hotspots" risking acute food insecurity.
The UN agencies have said taht business as usual cannot continue and climatic conditions are likely to add to the situation.
"Business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option in today's risk landscape if we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind.” said Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General.
Qu Dongyu called for immediate action in the agricultural sector "to pull people back from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives and provide long-term solution to address the root causes of food insecurities".
The report cited a possible spillover of the conflict in Sudan, deepening economic crises in poor nations and rising fears that the El Nino climatic phenomenon forecast for mid-2023 could provoke climate extremes in vulnerable countries.
The report warns that 1 million people are expected to flee Sudan, while an additional 2.5 million inside Sudan face acute hunger in the coming months as supply routes through Port Sudan are disrupted by safety issues.
WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain warned of “catastrophic”consequences unless there is clear action to "help people adapt to a changing climate and ultimately prevent famine".
"Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severity of the hunger they face is worse than ever," McCain said.
(With AP inputs)