Child in Afghanistan is being checked for malnutrition

World Vision launches global response to escalating hunger crisis as millions of children face starvation  

  • Ukraine conflict has pushed growing numbers of starving people to crisis levels
  • 45 million now at risk of starvation 
  • World Vision is responding globally with a focus on 24 worst-affected nations 

20th May, 2022 - International aid agency, World Vision has declared a Global Hunger Response as extreme hunger around the world dramatically increases.  Forty-five million people face starvation without urgent life-saving assistance.  

Andrew Morley, World Vision International President and CEO, said: "Millions of children are enduring this heart-breaking hunger crisis, caused by a deadly combination of conflict, climate change and Covid-19.”  

The war in Ukraine has created a catastrophe upon a catastrophe. Increasing costs of fuel, fertiliser and wheat, exacerbated by port closures, sanctions and trade restrictions arising from this war, are now supercharging the hunger crisis to create the potential for mass starvation across hunger hotspots in multiple nations around the world.  

World Vision’s 18-month Global Hunger Response will focus on hunger hotspots around the globe where children are one step away from famine or facing starvation. The response builds on efforts to address widespread hunger and malnutrition that have already reached 11.5 million people but which now need to be expanded to keep pace with the worsening situation.  The aid organisation is uniquely positioned to respond due to its enormous operational presence, its expertise and leadership in cash, food and nutrition programming, as well as being the World Food Programme’s largest partner for the delivery of food assistance.   

Andrew Morley said he was shocked by meeting families severely affected by hunger during a trip to Kenya.    

"I recently met families in East Africa, including a mother, Akal, who checks on her malnourished children during the night to make sure they are still alive. The crisis is tearing into every aspect of life, and comes on top of another drought, a locust invasion, then the pandemic.   

In Afghanistan, hunger is forcing families to make heart-breaking decisions. "I have been heartbroken to see that families are willing to sell their children to feed other family members," said Asuntha Charles, National director of the World Vision Afghanistan.  

“Day by day, the situation is deteriorating in this country, and it is especially children who are suffering”. 

World Vision is calling on the international community to prioritise the lives of millions of children who are at risk of dying of starvation right now. The scale of need is so large that this is only the second time in its history that World Vision has launched a global response of this nature – its COVID-19 pandemic response being the first.  The aid agency warns that funding requirements for the hunger response will be even larger than was needed for COVID-19.  

“Our staff, already living in the communities they serve, are doing everything in their power to help those worst affected by the hunger crisis. But we urgently need more support to scale up this life-saving work.  Pledges and promises are not enough. Urgent funding must be provided immediately. Real action is needed now to save lives. We must all step forward, to ensure every child can achieve their God-given potential in life,"said Andrew Morley. 

ENDS. 

Notes to editor 

Key facts: 

  • 45 million people in 43 countries face starvation.  Countries with current/projected populations in IPC 5 are Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Afghanistan   
  • WFP estimates that the 276m people facing acute food insecurity could rise to between 309 million and 323 million under different scenarios due to the conflict in Ukraine[1].  
  • World Vision will be focused on at least 24 countries as part of its Global Hunger Response.  These countries are: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda,  Tanzania, Angola, DR Congo, Central African Rep, Chad, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Myanmar.  
  • For the latest sitrep on World Vision’s response visithere.  

 For further information or to organise an interview, please contact: Niamh Cooper at Niamh_cooper@wvi.org