I was out walking and I couldn’t shake this piece of news off: “More than 20 million people in four countries are at risk of starvation and famine.” That’s what UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien, told the UN Security Council.
I find that going without food, even for as little as a day, can be very destabilizing. Does hunger have that effect on you, as well?
Imagine not having any source of food, for yourself and your children; for a day, for 2 days, for a week. Add to that a lack of clean drinking water and you have pure agony.
That is what 20 million people are facing or could be facing in South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia this year.
Suffering on that scale is nearly unimaginable, but that’s not the worst part. What is bothering me today is that there is more than enough food. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.), there is enough food production on the planet to feed the 7 billion people living today, and even the estimated 9-10 billion population in 2050.
So, why aren’t people getting this food when global agriculture is producing 17% more calories per person today than they did 30 years ago?
We have seen that neither governments nor industry (agri-business, transnational corporations) do enough to protect access to adequate nutritious food for those in need. For them, it becomes about policies, regional goals, and economics. For us, however, it is a no-brainer. Letting people die of hunger as we throw away more than enough food to care for them all, is unconscionable, unthinkable and wrong. I’m not going to speculate on why these two views are so different, but I will say that if those charged with representing us are incapable of action, we are not.
O’Brien says,”To be precise, we need $4.4bn by July”. What can we do knowing all that we know?
There are 20 million people on the verge of starvation. 20 million more reasons than we really need. Even in the face of such a daunting financial figure, we need to care and we need to act. We can not wait for government or industry to get around to it.
“To be clear, we can avert a famine,” O’Brien said. “We’re ready despite incredible risk and danger … but we need those huge funds now.”
If you’d like to pitch in and help, here are some agencies that can make things happen on the ground through your financial donations:
We don’t have to wait for governments or for things to get worse, we can do something right now. We have good hearts that want us to make a difference and save lives.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for doing good.