War: the effects of forced migration on hunger


In 2015, the world’s countries committed to achieving zero hunger by 2030, however, a study by the Global Hunger Index this year examined 119 countries and found that 51 had levels of hunger that were seriously alarming. Central African Republic was singled out as the only nation with extremely alarming levels of hunger as a result the displacement of millions of people, due to ongoing conflict and war. With around 12 years to go and a seemingly worsening global crisis of war, can we achieve zero hunger by 2030?

Forced migration is a painful reality for many but when paired with hunger, the effects are truly heart breaking. During periods of conflict, hunger may be a cause and a consequence of forced migration. People affected by conflict experience a threat to their lives as well as a threat to livelihoods that undermine the ability for these people to provide for their basic needs, such as food. This non-inevitable state of war and hunger significantly restricts the free movement of people and their access to markets, jobs and farmland because it simply is not safe. The effects are worse in developing countries with limited resources where these places are already, under normal circumstances, harder to access anyway. If these people cannot produce or access the food they need for survival, their nutritional health is severely compromised. As a method of dealing with changing dynamics from war, many people migrate from their family homes, resulting in emergency circumstances where vulnerable families find themselves without the means to feed, often for extremely long periods of time.

While some people successfully flee to safety with assets and savings, this is not the case for many. In parts of the world where civil conflict and war persists multiple times, by the time these people reach their new home, they have already lost everything with each move reducing their resilience to food security. For these people, once they resettle, if they do, farming and food production is continuously disrupted, causing food shortages which significantly disturbs a household’s food security status. An example of this is the ongoing immigration problem in Uganda where 900,393 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and 1 million South Sudanese citizens are currently displaced as a result of persistent civil war and political tension; these people are at an incredibly high risk of falling into a cycle of hunger and poverty.

For regions holding millions of displaced people, the prospects of meeting the worlds goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030 are slim. The most logical solution to reduce this devastating reality for many people, is to address the challenges that go beyond humanitarian action. Political solutions should be encouraged so that in the longer term, development efforts are strengthened between all parts of society if we are to achieve the goals of the world of zero hunger, whilst saving millions from suffering.


(picture 1 from US News)

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