The Links between Food Crises and Violence in East, South and West Africa
According to this brief but data-intensive analysis, in 2017 the global food crisis will directly affect 70 million people cross 45 countries. In the case of Africa, the relationship between natural and man-made famine and the spread violence is unambiguous. Since the food crisis began, for example, there has been an approximate 75% increase in recorded violence in “emergency” areas and a threefold increase in “famine” areas. And so the story goes.
The 2017 Food crisis during 2017 will directly affect 70 million people across 45 countries1. Emergency conditions began to appear in 2016, and the crisis appeared to strike East Africa and the Sahel particularly badly.
Food stresses often occur in isolated pockets, largely due to changing weather patterns, poor harvests, inconsistent seasons, malfunctioning markets, or lingering effects of previous disasters. But severe emergencies – such as those affecting large parts of Africa at present- are often man made.
There are several reasons that current countries with emergency and famine are in such positions; these include conflict, mismanagement, and insufficient responses to previous disasters. As noted in a recent FewsNet report, the four states of Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are most concerning. All are beset by conflict, yet not all are equally incapacitated to deal with food pressures because of violence.
UNHCR / F. Noy