Skip to main content

Concern Worldwide warns of catastrophic hunger for millions of people in 2021

A hand holding a sheath of rotten maize
In countries like South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, extreme weather is destroying food production, leaving staple crops like maize inedible. Photo: Tommy Trenchard / Concern Worldwide

A major report published today, which warns that 142 million people will face severe food shortages this year and forecasts famines in at least two countries, is a final wake up call to the world, Concern Worldwide has warned.

The 2021 Global Report on Food Crises predicts food crises in 40 countries for which data is available, and forecasts famine conditions for 155,000 people in South Sudan and Yemen in the coming months.

It also shows that while conflict will remain the major driver of food crises in 2021, the economic fallout from the pandemic is increasingly exacerbating food insecurity in fragile economies. In three countries - South Sudan, Syria and the Central African Republic - more than half the population are caught up in crisis levels of food insecurity.

The report is produced by the Global Network Against Food Crises, an alliance of humanitarian and development organisations, including the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department ECHO.

Executive Director of Concern Worldwide (UK), Danny Harvey, said: “The report reinforces what we are seeing first-hand in the countries where we work: that conflict and climate change are driving acute hunger and malnutrition in some of the most fragile parts of the world. It also tells us that Covid-19 has exacerbated existing fragilities - an additional 20 million people faced crisis-level food insecurity in 2020 compared to 2019.  

It is shocking that, in the 21st century, we are at the brink of multiple famines which are entirely preventable. Just when the need could not be greater, we are seeing sweeping aid cuts from the UK government, including to humanitarian response and essential nutrition and health services. As hosts of the G7, this is not the time for the UK to step back on its commitments and its leadership.”

This week, the G7 Development and Finance ministerial meetings are taking place, with the Famine Compact due to be announced by the Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crises Panel.

Ms Harvey added, “The Famine Compact must deliver an ambitious and accountable plan of action on tackling the root causes of hunger and malnutrition, particularly through addressing conflict and improving resilience to climate change. It must prioritise the countries and people most at risk and, more importantly, commit the necessary investments to deliver timely support to save lives.”

The full report can be read at:

For media queries contact Hannah Myerson, Senior Communications Officer, Concern Worldwide, at [email protected].

Notes to the Editor

Founded by the European Union, FAO and WFP at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the Global Network Against Food Crises is an alliance of humanitarian and development actors working together to prevent, prepare for, and respond to food crises and support the Sustainable Development Goal to End Hunger (SDG 2).

Share your concern