At the Action Against Hunger malnutrition centre, Munira was given therapeutic food to make her feel better

The world's hungriest countries

The latest UN Hunger Hotspots report highlights Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen as the countries with the highest levels of hunger.

The UN’s Hunger Hotspots report highlights over 43 million people in 38 countries across the globe are now at risk of famine or a food crisis, unless they receive immediate life-saving support.

Almost half of global child deaths are linked to malnutrition and one in five children around the world suffer from wasting, which means they have a low weight for their height. There is a desperate need to invest in nutrition interventions that have lifelong effects.

Hunger hotspots: five countries of urgent concern

Ethiopia

Safiya and Fardosa at an Action Against Hunger treatment centre in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, escalating conflict and extreme weather caused by the climate crisis have worsened access to food in the country. The political situation, particularly in the Tigray region, remains volatile and the violence has disrupted people’s lives. Communities have had no choice but to flee their homes – limiting access to agricultural land and other livelihoods.

Ethiopia is highly vulnerable to extreme weather patterns. Seasonal forecasts for the upcoming rainy season are still uncertain, with potential signs of below average rainfall in some areas and average to above average rainfall in southern Ethiopia. A fourth poor rainy season is likely, which will have significant effects on harvests. This means some communities will be less likely to replenish their food stocks.

Action Against Hunger’s work in Ethiopia

We’ve been working in Ethiopia since 1985, providing humanitarian assistance to almost two million people. Our work focuses on providing nutrition and health support to children under five suffering with life-threatening hunger as well as supporting communities through cash assistance.

Nigeria

A mother and her son in a camp Nigeria

Conflict remains a key driver of hunger in Nigeria. The violence is causing disruptions in markets and farming practices, affecting people’s ability to earn income and forcing people to leave their homes. For those living in areas controlled by armed groups, it can be extremely difficult for humanitarian organisations to reach them with the support they need.

Action Against Hunger’s work in Nigeria

We’ve been working in Nigeria since 2010 trying to fight the root causes of hunger. We’ve continued to provide vital monthly food assistance to over 200,000 people in Borno and Yobe states. Our teams provide technical support to families in farming, livestock raising, fishing and other income-generating activities to improve their access to food.

South Sudan

Bol Kek, 45, from Paguir, collects water lily bulbs to be ground up and made into an edible paste. Apart from fish, it is the only source of food available.

In South Sudan, forecasts indicate that the country will see above average rainfall from the start of April. While this could lead to a good harvest, it also increases the risk of major floods that could displace many communities and damage crops.

The effects of the climate crisis are already being felt in some areas of South Sudan. In Old Fangak, communities have experienced three years of extreme floods – limiting their access to food and crops.

Action Against Hunger’s work in South Sudan

We’re often the only organisation providing life-saving health and nutrition services in remote areas of South Sudan. We’ve supported more than 5,000 farmers with training and the tools to grow nutritious crops and continue to treat children and pregnant and breastfeeding women for malnutrition. We also distribute vital food baskets to families affected by floods and are providing access to clean water, good hygiene and safe toilets.

Yemen

Mazen and his family benefit from the mobile clinic that visits his village in Abyan province, Yemen.

Families living in war-torn Yemen are facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades. The escalating armed conflict remains one of the main causes of life-threatening hunger in the country today. The fighting is set to intensify further in some areas, which will force thousands to leave their homes. Life-saving imports will be disrupted causing more strain for families projected to be in famine-like conditions.

Action Against Hunger’s work in Yemen

Despite tight restrictions, we continue to support vulnerable children and their families in Yemen through our nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and mental health services. We provide female-led households in poor financial situations with unconditional grants and train mothers to create awareness about the best way to feed their children.

Afghanistan

Haidah* lives in Daykundi Province, Afghanistan.

The economic situation in Afghanistan has quickly deteriorated since the political transition in August. Over 90% of the population has been pushed into poverty. Hunger is rising and the need for humanitarian support is increasing while access restrictions remain extreme.

Communities also face the harsh winter months and the cold weather will continue to affect farming in the spring. This will impact production and cause livestock losses in large parts of the country.

Action Against Hunger’s work in Afghanistan

Our team in Afghanistan is recognised for its expertise in health and nutrition. We run projects diagnosing and treating children for life-threatening hunger and help communities access safe drinking water. To help protect people’s jobs and access to food, we provide feed for livestock. Our mobile health teams also travel to remote communities who struggle to access medical services to make sure no one is left behind.

Full list of hunger hotspots around the world

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Burkina Faso
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Kenya
  • Lebanon
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen

Download the full report here

Where we work A woman walking through a field at an Action Against Hunger project in Mali.

Where we work

We fight hunger and malnutrition in 46 countries around the world.

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Write to Liz TrussMunira from Ethiopia eats therapeutic food as part of the treatment she received from Action Against Hunger

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