The number of people experiencing hunger rose for the first time in a decade, according to the United Nations annual report, “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.”

Last year, 815 million people experienced hunger globally – an increase of 38 million from 2015, though still below a high of 900 million in 2000.

“The food security situation has worsened in particular in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia and Western Asia,” the report stated. “Exacerbated by climate-related shocks, conflicts seriously affect food security and are a cause of much of the recent increase in food insecurity.”

The declared famine in South Sudan as well as the risk of famine in Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen were cited as a few examples from the 19 nations in which protracted conflict is causing high levels of food insecurity.

The interplay of conflict and hunger creates a feedback loop in which conflict leads to hunger, which can lead to further conflict.

This negative cycle often expands as internally displaced persons and refugees leave their homes seeking both safety and reliable food sources.

This can strain the resources of surrounding communities and nations providing humanitarian aid, which can lead to further conflict and hunger.

Currently, 489 million of the 815 million people experiencing hunger live in areas of conflict, which reveals “conflict is a key factor explaining the apparent reversal in the long-term declining trend in global hunger, thereby posing a major challenge to ending hunger and malnutrition.”

This means peacemaking is vital to ending global hunger.

“Efforts at fighting hunger must go hand in hand with those to sustain peace,” the report emphasized.

The full report is available here.

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