CAIRO, EGYPT- United Nations reports that one-third of the 420 million people in the Arab world lack enough food to eat.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the number of malnourished people in the Arab world increased by 4.8 million between 2019 and 2020, approaching 16 percent of the population.
Several factors contributed to the situation, according to the report: protracted crises, social unrest, poverty, inequality, climate change, natural resources shortages, and economic repercussions associated with the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘Leading cause of Hunger’
According to FAO’s regional representative for the Near East and North Africa, Abdulhakim Elwaer, conflict continues to be one of the leading causes of hunger in the region, with more than 53 million people suffering from hunger in countries and areas experiencing conflict.
“There may not be any visible improvement in the situation this year since hunger’s primary drivers will continue to exacerbate the problem,” Elwaer continued.
Somalia and Yemen, two countries ravaged by conflict last year, remained the worst-affected countries, with more than 60 percent of Somalis undernourished and more than 45 percent of Yemenis going hungry, according to reports.
“Yemen had the highest prevalence of anemia in 2020, affecting 61.5 percent of women of reproductive age,” it said.
In the Arab world, hunger has increased by 91.1 percent over the last 20 years, according to the FAO.
Adult obesity is also on the rise, particularly in the wealthier Arab states, it said.
It has been estimated that 28.8 percent of the adult population in the Arab region is obese, which is more than double the global obesity rate of 13.1 per cent.
“The highest prevalence of adult obesity was observed in high-income countries while the lowest prevalence was found in low-income countries.”