Mass famine looming across Africa, Middle East
Food insecurity could promote civil unrest.
A food crisis is brewing that affects seventy-five percent of African countries and part of the Arab world. Maplecroft's Food Security Risk index, a report that was published Wednesday, found that most of the world's countries at risk of food insecurity were in Africa and the Arab world.
Food price forecasts for 2013 are even worse.
Food insecurity is typically caused by armed conflict, civil unrest, drought, and government corruption. It generally means the population cannot obtain enough food to sustain itself, which puts people at risk of malnutrition and starvation. Children are particularly vulnerable.
There are 11 countries that were listed in the report as being at extreme risk. They include Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, tied for first, Haiti, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Comoros, and Sierra Leone.
Countries at high risk include several middle-eastern countries, most notably Syria, where armed conflict has created an artificial famine.
There are problems in the USA too, although there is no danger of food insecurity there. A prolonged drought in the US has depressed food production and led to higher food prices for more Americans. Perhaps more gravely, the drought has meant less food for export to needy countries.
Food insecurity is an important thing, closely watched by governments. It's not simply that people could die, but also that revolutionary movements and civil unrest are frequently sparked when people can't get enough to eat.
The report suggests that full-scale famine may be looming over parts of Africa, particularly in the Sahel and sun-Saharan regions, which encompasses the entire northern half of the country, with Egypt and Tunisia being excepted.
Libya made the list as well, which is a concern because food insecurity there could be capitalized on by right-wing extremists who represent a threat to the current, moderate regime that has followed the dictator Gaddafi.
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