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World Refugee Day: More and more people will flee because of hunger

In Adi, Malteser International provides malnourished young children with supplementary food. 2.4 million children are currently acutely malnourished in the DR Congo. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura/Malteser International

In the DR Congo, Malteser International staff train people in sustainable farming methods. Photo: Malteser International

In the past eleven years, the number of those who have had to flee has more than doubled. The hunger crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine war will also have an impact on refugee movements.

Cologne. The global number of people affected by hunger is rising rapidly. The causes are many: the catastrophic effects of climate change, wars and conflicts, and skyrocketing prices for wheat, cooking oil, fertilizer and gasoline because of the Ukraine war. "We fear that more and more people are leaving their homes and fleeing to where they see a chance to feed their families," says Roland Hansen, head of Malteser International's Africa department.

In some countries, the indirect consequences of the Ukraine war are being felt particularly strongly, such as in the DR Congo, where a hunger crisis is looming. 80 percent of wheat imports there were sourced from Ukraine and Russia.

According to the United Nations, the number of people who are acutely malnourished has already doubled in the past two years since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, from 135 million people to 276 million. Current price increases could cause that number to rise to 323 million in the coming months.

"These are numbers we cannot even grasp. But behind these numbers are individual people. People who will starve if they are not helped. Hunger leads to flight; flight unfortunately too often leads to destitution." The fight against hunger, to which all UN members committed in 2015 with the agreement on the Sustainable Global Development Goals, now needs a stronger commitment, he said.  Hansen: "In the short term, we are providing malnourished children in the DR Congo with supplementary food so that they do not starve to death. In addition, we will support people there – as in other countries – in growing their own food. This way, families can become less dependent on world market prices and supplies from abroad. Then they will no longer be forced to leave their homes."

Attention editorial offices:

Roland Hansen, Head of the Africa Department of Malteser International is available for interviews and sound bites.
Operator: +49 (0)221 98227 181, katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

Malteser Hilfsdienst e. V.
IBAN: DE10 3706 0120 1201 2000 12
Keyword: "Where it is needed most”



Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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