Blog Post

The World Continues to Grapple with Acute Food Insecurity: 2024 Global Report on Food Crises Released

Hunger continues to rise across the globe, with nearly 282 million people facing acute food insecurity in 2023, according to the 2024 Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC).  This number is up by 24 million from 2022, marking the fifth consecutive year that food insecurity has risen.

Some of this year’s increase in food insecurity rates is attributable to greater analysis coverage in the report itself. The 2023 GRFC identified 17.5 million more acutely food-insecure people than the 2022 report. The rising numbers are also being driven by a deterioration in food security in 12 countries with comparable data between 2022 and 2023. In these countries and territories, 13.5 million more people experienced acute food insecurity in 2023.

The world experienced 36 ongoing food crises in 2023, with Palestine (Gaza Strip) and Sudan the hardest hit. Over half a million Palestinians were projected to face IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe) level food insecurity in 2023; that number is anticipated to rise to over 1.1 million people by July 2024, with the risk of famine particularly high for the northern governates. The GRFC states that the entire population of Palestine (Gaza Strip) was in IPC Phase 3 food insecurity or above in 2023, making it the most severe food crisis in IPC and GRFC history.

Sudan saw the highest number of people in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) level food insecurity in the world in 2023. Between June and September 2023, around 42 percent of the country’s population experienced acute food insecurity – 74 percent more than the previous year’s lean season. In the post-harvest period, GRFC projects around 17.7 million people continued to experience high levels of hunger.

Burkina Faso, Somalia, South Sudan, and Mali also experienced catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity throughout 2023. Major food crises also hit Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, the Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, Colombia, Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

The news is less grim in other countries and territories, where 2023 brought some improvement in food insecurity numbers. In 17 countries with comparable data, 7.2 million fewer people saw high levels of acute food insecurity in 2023.

As in previous years, conflict continues to be a major driver of food crisis around the world. Conflict and civil unrest were behind most of the ten largest food crises identified in the 2023 report, including the Sudan and Palestine (Gaza Strip). In 20 countries/territories, an estimated 135 million people faced acute food insecurity as a result of conflict.

Climate change and extreme weather events also continued to play a major role in expanding food crises in 2023. Weather extremes, including drought and flooding, drove rising acute food insecurity in 18 countries, impacting more than 72 million people.

Finally, in 21 countries, economic shocks played the pivotal role in acute food insecurity for more than 75 million people. While food prices fell globally, low-income and import-dependent countries continued to struggle with extremely high food prices and high public debt.

The situation is particularly stark for displaced populations. A total of 90.2 million people were displaced in 2023 as a result of conflict, extreme weather, and economic challenges, including 26 million refugees and 64.3 million internally displaced people. The highest number of internally displaced people was seen in the Sudan, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine (Gaza Strip), Somalia, and Myanmar. Acute food insecurity is particularly prevalent among these populations, who face limited access to employment, disruptions to livelihoods, lack of social protection programs, lack of access to food and shelter, and dependence on limited humanitarian aid.

The GRFC predicts that 2023’s dire food security situation will continue into 2024, with escalating conflicts and the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon driving even more people into hunger. Further exacerbating these factors are declining levels of humanitarian funding and ongoing challenges and costs associated with delivering that aid.

As in previous years, gaps in data prevented populations in a number of countries from being accounted for in the 2024 GRFC. The report’s authoring institutions are calling for increased investment in monitoring of food security and nutrition data, as well as increased attention to the food security and malnutrition situations of displaced populations.

Sara Gustafson is a freelance communications consultant.