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FOOD insecurity is being used as a weapon of war in Syria and Yemen, a British-based humanitarian aid charity warned today.
Human Appeal is calling for the end to the use of hunger as a weapon of war following a reported increase in food insecurity where populations are “being punished with devastating consequences.”
Hunger and starvation have increased globally in the past two years, with conflict being cited as the main cause.
Over 74 million people have been affected, according to the Food Security Information Network.
Women and children are the most vulnerable in both immediate and protracted crises, Human Appeal warned.
They added that acute food insecurity and malnutrition can often lead to death.
Human Appeal’s food security advisor Javeria Hashmi said: “There is a need for a new way of responding to the food security challenges of this time.
“This includes investments in conflict prevention and sustaining peace and simultaneous holistic actions across the humanitarian and development nexus, addressing the root causes of hunger.”
A record 71 million people needed help in North Africa and the Middle East last year, 35 million of them children, according to Unicef.
The region has the greatest concentration of humanitarian needs in the world, charities have warned, with Syria and Yemen worst affected.
Thousands are being made refugees, face food insecurity and lack access to medical care in the area.
More than 20 million people in Yemen are food insecure, including nearly 10 million who are on the brink of famine, according to the UN’s food and agriculture organisation.
The war has caused a decline in Yemen’s already limited agricultural sector, and with the country heavily reliant on imports, especially wheat, closures at the ports make matters worse.
Stop the War’s Lindsey German urged an end to British involvement in all wars.
She told the Star: “The major victims of war in the 21st century are civilians.
“Wars impact heavily on women and children through a range of issues but hunger and shortage of food are a major life-threatening problem. Food should never be used as a weapon of war.”
Ms German also demanded that refugees “whether from war itself or the inability to live as a result of food shortages” should be welcomed in Britain – one of the richest countries in the world.
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