Global Report
on Food Crises

Joint analysis for better decisions


The number of people battling acute hunger and suffering from malnutrition is on the rise yet again.

In many places, we still lack the ability to collect reliable and timely data to truly know the magnitude and severity of food crises gripping vulnerable populations. And the upheaval that has been set in motion by the COVID-19 pandemic may push even more families and communities into deeper distress.

At this time of immense global challenges, from conflicts to climate shocks to economic instability, we must redouble our efforts to defeat hunger and malnutrition. This is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building a more stable and resilient world.

We have the tools and the know-how. What we need is political will and sustained commitment by leaders and nations. This report should be seen as a call to action and I commend its contents to a wide global audience.

What is the Global Report on Food Crises?

The Global Report on Food Crises is the result of a joint, consensus-based assessment of acute food insecurity situations around the world by 16 partner organizations.
It is facilitated by the Food Security Information Network, which provides the core coordination and technical support to pillar 1 of the Global Network Against Food Crises.

The report tracks the numbers and locations of acutely food-insecure people most in need of emergency food, nutrition and livelihood assistance during the peak or worst point in 2019.

Key findings

The data in this report shows that the number of acutely food-insecure people in need of urgent assistance in the world is rising.

In the four years of the report's existence the
number has never been higher.

  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2019
million people
in 49 countries
were in Crisis or worse
(IPC/CH Phase 3 or above)
were in Stressed
(IPC/CH Phase 2)
  • 1. None /
    Resilience building and disaster risk reduction.
  • 2. Stressed
    Disaster risk reduction and protection of livelihoods.
  • 3. Crisis
    Urgent action required
    to protect livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps.
  • 4. Emergency
    Urgent action required
    to save lives and livelihoods.
  • 5. Catastrophe
    Urgent action required
    to revert/prevent widespread death and total collapse of livelihoods.
  • Urgent action required

These were the 10 worst food crises in 2019 in terms of NUMBERS of people in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above)

In South Sudan and Yemen more than half of the population analysed were in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above)

But high numbers of people in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) do not always mean high prevalence

In 55 food-crisis countries

75M children
were stunted
17M children
suffered from wasting
Limited access to nutritionally diverse diets
Limited access to clean drinking water and sanitation
Limited access to healthcare

Conflict/insecurity was still the main driver of food crises in 2019,
but weather extremes and economic shocks
became increasingly significant

was considered the key driver of food crises for 40M people in the Middle East and Asia and 37M in Africa.

Weather extremes
were considered the key driver for 26M people in Africa, 4.4M in Central America and 3M in Middle East and Asia.

Economic shocks
formed the key driver for 14M in Latin America and the Caribbean and 10M in Africa.

In mid-2019, there were 20.2 million refugees in the world under UNHCR's mandate.

Fifty-two percent – more than half – were hosted in 8 countries of which 4 experienced major food crises.

In mid-2019, there were 44.9 million internally displaced people in the world.

Nine out of 10 countries with the largest numbers of internally displaced people experienced major food crises. Each of these countries had over 1.5 million internally displaced people.

Going forward

Conflict/insecurity, weather extremes, desert locusts, economic shocks and COVID-19 are expected to be the key drivers of acute food insecurity.

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is having an unprecedented impact around the world, both in health and socioeconomic terms.

The 55 food-crisis countries will likely be highly vulnerable to the consequences of this pandemic, as will countries that are net food importers, oil exporters and those dependent on tourism and remittances for income.

Call to action

Given the unprecedented nature of the crisis, creating a better understanding of the potential impacts of COVID-19 on food security and related vulnerabilities is critical.

The Global Network against Food Crises will engage to monitor the situation against the data currently available and will strive to provide timely data, analyses and intelligence on the impact of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition.

The global international community must accelerate efforts to tackle hunger’s root causes during the Decade of Action if it expects a sustainable future for all by 2030.