“We are in crisis mode.” Non-profit organizations discuss the state of the world food crisis and how you can help

“Now there’s a sense of urgency and acting out or we’re going to see the world slip into famine and we’re going to lose literally millions of lives.”

Many countries have struggled with food insecurity and hunger in the past, but recent events such as the war in Ukraine have exacerbated these issues.

The numbers so far in 2022 are staggering. The United Nations estimates that 345 million people worldwide face acute food insecurity. This is roughly equal to the population of the United States.
According to Mary Clarke, head of international programs for women, those numbers have increased by 25% since January 2022, just before the war in Ukraine broke out.

“The last large-scale food price crisis and food crisis globally was roughly between 2008 and 2010. And at that time, they were setting a goal of zero hunger by 2030. We were making a lot of progress,” Clark said. “What we’re seeing right now is a drastic change in the other direction.”

Seger of the World Food Program USA pointed out that some parts of the world are now on the brink of famine in what he calls the “4 Seas of Crisis” – conflict, climate, cost and COVID.

Afghan men distribute vital monthly food rations, as is the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).


The war in Ukraine put a major strain on the world’s food supply as both Russia and Ukraine are “breadbaskets” for countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Together they account for about 30% of the world’s wheat trade, which has largely been shut down since Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s port cities such as Odessa.
While the war may show no signs of ending anytime soon, Russia and Ukraine recently signed an agreement to resume grain exports from some of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. The first shipment was released this week.

But as Seger reiterates, shipments need to go out quickly and easily.

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“We (the World Food Program) are on standby. The ships are ready. Our crews are ready. Our boots on the ground are ready. The consequences of not getting this grain out fast are dire.”

It is not just the conflict in Ukraine, however, it is exacerbating the hunger crisis. In Afghanistan, an economy already on the brink, the Taliban takeover prompted the US and other countries to freeze an estimated $7 billion of the country’s foreign reserves.
Many people in Afghanistan now rely on help from organizations such as the World Food Program, which estimates that more than 36 million people there lack adequate food. This is about 90% of the population.


The economic impact of the Ukraine war is global. Marianne Kajokaya and Angelina Ajoni with Women for International in South Sudan have seen the price of wheat rise nearly 50% since the invasion began – 3,000 miles away. The price of maize flour has tripled in South Sudan.

“The market is changing very fast,” Kajokaya said. “I told [people]’You have to stock up on food in your homes.'”

Kajokaya said this jump in the cost of food forces many people to survive on just one meal a day.

But the effect of inflation is also affecting people outside the market.

“What people immediately realized was the cost of fuel as it was reflected in the transportation.”

In some cases the cost of fuel quadrupled and transportation between cities doubled. For some families, the rising cost of living means they can no longer afford to send their children to school and in some cases cannot even afford life-saving treatment. Kajokaya said malaria treatment costs about $10, but “for someone who makes less than $1 a day, it can be really tough.”

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“We see people whose lives could have been saved are being destroyed just because people can’t afford to buy medicine.”

In South Sudan, the war in Ukraine has caused global economic repercussions such as rising food costs.


The cost of the war is also felt in countries like Somalia where a large portion of the wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine. But climate change is another important factor that has put the Horn of Africa on the brink of famine. Somalia has had four consecutive unsuccessful rainy seasons and there is little hope that the rainy season in October will bring relief.

UNICEF Somalia representative Wafa Saeed said the drought they are currently facing is unprecedented.

“80% of the country is either in extreme or severe drought,” Saeed said. “I’ve talked to people who have said they’ve never seen such a drought in their lives.”

UNICEF estimates that 1.5 million children in the country are malnourished and 7 million are completely food insecure. That’s almost half the country.

“People have nothing to eat. Their livestock have died. They have no employment. They cannot grow food or buy food,” Saeed said.

On top of this, inflation from the war in Ukraine has dramatically increased the prices of food, fuel and water, leaving many people desperate for help.

Saeed said that some people have been walking continuously for several days in search of help. Although the effects of climate change continue to grow, drought is “becoming the norm.”

Sayeed said, “It’s not going to go away.” “We have to invest in long-term response to build people’s resilience.”

Water management aid and drought support are important factors in helping people “get back to normal life” and being able to plan for their future.

Somalis fleeing drought-stricken areas receive food donations from the city's residents.


More than two years into the pandemic, the ripple effects (and disease) are still reverberating around the world. It has touched almost every part of daily life, affecting not only health and health care but shipping, the workforce and the overall economy.

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“If you’re sick you can’t farm. If you’re sick you can’t process food. If you’re sick you can’t transport food. Large shipping supply chain disruptions have made us lose access.” messed up the ability of the food,” said Mary Clark from Women for Women International. “There were many markets that would sometimes be closed because states or countries closed the market due to the rise or increase of Covid.”

By some estimates the pandemic forced nearly 100 million people into poverty, and the number of people going hungry increased by 150 million from 2020 to 2021. While much of the world is still coming back from the brunt of the pandemic, new forms of Covid continue to disrupt everyday life.

how to help

Hunger is a major problem in the world, but there are small steps you can take to help reduce the food crisis. Shop and eat local foods, support small farmers and cut food waste.

There are also many organizations around the world that provide food and support. You can support those organizations by clicking the buttons here or below.