Aid in Somalia
Since 2015, the African nation of Somalia has experienced five consecutive rainy season failures. The country is currently facing yet another drought, which will have serious impacts on food insecurity in the country. Humanitarian organizations like the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have made efforts to provide humanitarian aid in Somalia to combat the drought and prevent famine in the region. However, OCHA has faced obstacles in delivering aid in Somalia due to conflict in the area.

Conflict and Poverty in Somalia

Somalia has been in a state of civil war since 1988. Despite numerous attempts at peace, the conflict has failed to come to a resolution and has severely impacted poverty in the country. According to a World Bank report from 2019, almost 70% of the population of Somalia lived in poverty. Of the millions of people internally displaced due to the conflict, 74% endured poverty. The conflict has not only contributed to poverty in the country but has also presented barriers to delivering humanitarian aid in Somalia.

How Violence Makes Aid Difficult

Providing humanitarian aid in Somalia has proven difficult due to violence in some areas. According to OCHA, 565 “access incidents” were reported in 2022, threatening the “safety of aid workers” and the delivery of aid. More than 375,000 people living in areas controlled by armed non-state groups need humanitarian aid but are out of the reach of humanitarian organizations like OCHA. In Laas Caanood, aid programs, such as “school feeding, safety net and nutrition” initiatives, faced delays due to the risk of violence and conflict, affecting more than 15,700 households, a February 2023 OCHA situation report says. Despite these hurdles, OCHA continued to find ways to safely aid those in need.

Successful Aid Missions

To reach those in need, OCHA carried out multiple “caravan missions” using a U.N. Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) Cessna Caravan aircraft and a World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter. According to an OCHA situation report, the organization conducted 38 aid missions to 34 hard-to-access locations in Somalia between June 2021 and August 2022. Many of these areas had not seen humanitarian aid missions for a while. These missions helped aid “vulnerable people in hard-to-reach areas” and stand as examples of the determination of organizations like OCHA to provide humanitarian aid in Somalia.

OCHA also detailed successful operations in the Banadir region, an area with circumstances considered both “volatile and unpredictable” with aid workers often facing road closures and checkpoints when attempting to access hard-hit areas.

Despite these challenges, however, OCHA has proved successful in providing humanitarian aid to Somalia. In 2022, the organization reached 96% of its targeted population, providing aid to some 7.3 million people in the country. Initially targeting 761,000 people for nutrition assistance, OCHA reached 1.4 million Somali people with this assistance in 2022. OCHA also nearly reached its goal for food security, reaching 6.2 million people out of its 6.4 million target number. These successes are great examples of the dedication of humanitarian aid organizations like OCHA and their commitment to providing aid to all who need it, even if challenges present themselves along the way.

– Mohammad Samhouri
Photo: Flickr

Ways To Address World Hunger
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to profoundly impact economies worldwide, with rising food prices and high supply chain shortages exacerbating global hunger. Africa is feeling the heaviest effects. Ukraine is one of the largest producers of wheat. Russia’s introduction of a naval blockade and attacks on the country’s energy grid resulted in a reduction in wheat exports from 5 to 7 million tons per month before the war to 3.5 million tons per month between March and November 2022. More than 345 million people are feeling the impact of the global food crisis, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) highlights that more than 48 countries that the global food crisis affected will require more than $4.1 billion in aid in 2023. However, there are initiatives and methods to help alleviate and provide solutions to address world hunger.

United Nations Year of Millets

The initiative began in 2021, a year before Russia invaded Ukraine, which caused an unprecedented global food crisis. Before expanding on the goals and outcomes the initiative hopes to achieve, it is essential to discuss what millets are and what are the ways to address world hunger in 2023. Millets are grains that come from small seed grasses and many around the world grow them in abundance. People have been consuming millet for more than 7,000 years and they are important in terms of contributing to multi-crop agriculture and establishing farming societies.

Developing countries like India, Niger and Nigeria (more than 97%) heavily produce millet and they continue to be a stable form of the crop in these regions today, Impakter reports. This is because millet can survive droughts and other environmental challenges, making it a sustainable form of nutrition. Furthermore, the efforts required to grow the crops are minimal as they are highly adaptable in the soils they grow in, be they poor or fertile. As a source of nutrition, millets have high protein, minerals, fiber and iron and are gluten-free. Therefore, these grains are an excellent source to help countries “increase self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on imported cereal grains,” according to Impakter.

Karnataka, India officially adopted the United Nations Year of Millets. Millet grows in abundance there and India spearheads the initiative. The primary objective of Year of Millets consists of generating international awareness of millets which will ultimately result in a solution to the global food crisis because millets not only have the ability to grow in adverse environments and are sources of high nutrition but they also are sources of new sustainable market opportunities. The greater generation of international awareness of millet could solve world hunger in 2023 or be a step towards solving world hunger.

Immediate International Action

Another one of the ways to address world hunger is through more significant international involvement and efforts to help generate a financial cushion to support initiatives that tackle the food crisis and ensure that there are alternatives in place to ensure food security. Organizations like WFP and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) also require adequate global funding to operate efficiently to help address world hunger and generate awareness regarding the consequences of food insecurity. Furthermore, organizations that conduct their programs in countries experiencing extreme food insecurity require a stable source of funding from donors and international organizations through grants and concessional financing to operate programs such as cash assistance programs for people that the global food crisis affected.

A way to address world hunger in 2023 is through a calculated and organized approach which people can achieve through international awareness and engagement to ensure maximized efficiency of the efforts and effective use of the resources to help address the global food crisis.

In addition, the IMF mentions that even with international support, more significant efforts are necessary to help address the global food crisis and hopefully address world hunger. This means aiming financing at the most vulnerable sections of populations suffering from the food crisis. The funding should come through humanitarian aid, grants and long-term concessional financing, according to IMF Notes. Furthermore, the IMF views debt financing as an exemplary method for addressing the food crisis. It will ensure that people can use the funds to spend on food and other necessities.

Nutrition the Way to Save Lives

According to the WFP’s Global Operational Response Plan, “prioritizing the nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under 5 is key to saving lives and building resilient communities and economies.” This is because, statistically, the global food crisis is one of the most significant threats to children under 5, constituting one-fifth of children out of 60 million. In addition, children under 5 who suffer from acute and chronic malnutrition are at greater risk of death.

The WFP’s approach to addressing global food takes a targeted approach that can provide fruitful results in addressing world hunger in 2023. Therefore, the World Food Programme highlights that one of the ways to address world hunger in 2023 is the prioritization of nutrition for women and children under the age of 5 suffering from global food insecurity because access to nutritious diets is scarce.

To achieve this, Specialized Nutritious Foods (SNFs) are necessary in ensuring the proper nourishment of women and children. SNFs “help prevent and treat malnutrition and reduce mortality among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women by improving nutrient adequacy, strengthening immune systems and enabling proper weight gain.” Despite the high demand and prices for SNFs because of the war in Ukraine, the World Food Programme continues to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition at its core.

Addressing world hunger in 2023 along with rising inflation and greater demand for food appears complicated due to the disruption of global supply chains due to the war in Ukraine, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and environmental challenges. However, greater international cooperation between nonprofit organizations like the WFP, the IMF and the United Nations, alongside their partners and the international community, will make it possible to address world hunger in 2023.

– Arijit Joshi
Photo: Flickr

Flooding in Pakistan Pakistan experiences a yearly monsoon season typically beginning in mid-June and lasting until late August. An abnormally extreme monsoon season in 2022, primarily affecting the Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, has led to torrential rainfall. This 2022 rainfall has led to disastrous flooding in Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 1,700 and displacing 7.9 million.

As living conditions rapidly decline for those in the most heavily affected regions, the people that have been historically discriminated against receive the most serious repercussions. The provinces hit hardest by the flooding were housing an estimated 800,000 Afghan refugees. Given the falling value of their currency, coupled with the destruction of their homes and schools, many in most affected areas, 70% of which are women and children, have no options to reconstruct their lives, UNICEF reports. Waterborne diseases are raising concerns in these areas, as many are unable to leave despite the destruction.

Why Does This Keep Happening? 

Global climate change was not the only factor that led to the flooding, nor was this the first instance of extreme flooding in Pakistan’s recent history. In 2010, Pakistan experienced similarly extreme flooding. Since then, Pakistan has done little to reinforce its natural disaster prevention infrastructure and on top of this, Pakistan faces an imminent economic crisis. The inflation rate in Pakistan approached 27% in August 2022 and the Pakistani rupee crashed, causing Pakistan to require aid from wealthier countries to pay for the immense amount of damage caused by the flooding.


The UNHCR is spearheading the efforts to provide tents, blankets and other necessities to those affected most by the flooding in Pakistan. In September 2022, the UNHCR delivered over 10,000 metric tons of goods to those affected, with a special focus on the Afghan refugees. Additionally, UNHCR ran rapid needs assessments with the aid of the Pakistani government, along with mobilizing female-centered support, as women and children are among the most affected by the floods.

In addition to the UNHCR, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) has been working to provide food to those Pakastani flood victims, including those in relief camps. The WFP has “reached more than 400,000 people with food assistance in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces.” The WFP has also provided especially nutritious food to children and pregnant women in an effort to push back against increasing levels of malnutrition in the wake of widespread crop destruction.

A post-disaster that the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives led has begun in an effort to develop a recovery plan for the government moving forward. 

How Does the Future Look for Pakistan?

Though climate change played an important role in causing flooding in Pakistan, it is important to note that Pakistan contributes “less than 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions,” The New Humanitarian reports. Because of this, Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate change minister, has suggested that Pakistan has plans to demand climate reparations from the countries that play a much larger part in global climate change, according to The New Humanitarian. Efficient and productive strides have been taken in the direction of recovery for Pakistan in the wake of these cataclysmic floods. 

– Christopher Dickinson
Photo: Flickr

Hunger Crisis in HaitiDue to its location and small landmass, Haiti is susceptible to severe natural disasters. Because of this, among other factors, Haiti has long relied on importing food to feed its citizens. For example, Haiti imports 80% of its rice, a staple ingredient in many of Haiti’s traditional dishes, according to the International Trade Administration. This heavy reliance on outside sources of food means Haiti faces a high risk of food insecurity. Political instability, devaluation of the Haitian currency and rising inflation rates have contributed to a hunger crisis in Haiti.

Factors Contributing to the Hunger Crisis in Haiti

On August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the southern peninsula of Haiti. The earthquake damaged homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. As many Haitians lost their means of earning an income, food insecurity became more pronounced. The United Nations said about 650,000 Haitians needed humanitarian aid in the aftermath of the earthquake.

The supply chain disruptions as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war has caused soaring inflation rates in Haiti and across the world. As of July 2022, Haiti had already seen a 26% inflation rate.

The prevalence of gang activity in Haiti, as a consequence of the political instability in the country, also plays a role in the hunger crisis in Haiti. At the moment, gangs control the entrances to the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. The rapidly increasing inflation rate coupled with gangs cutting off the southern peninsula from the capital has led to a steep increase in hunger for the vast majority of impoverished Haitians living in that area of the country.

“The complete blockage of the road leading to the impoverished southern peninsula for a year has cut off at least 3.5 million people from the capital — restricting access to markets, basic services and essential humanitarian assistance,” the World Food Programme (WFP) reported in July 2022. Due to these impacts, some families in this area report only eating once a day.

The southern peninsula also experienced the worst effects of the 2021 earthquake, meaning that this newer food crisis hit while the area was still trying to recover from the last major natural disaster in Haiti.

The Most Vulnerable Groups

About 20% of Haiti’s population is projected to experience crisis levels of acute food insecurity from July 2022 to January 2023, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. Though the crisis affects all Haitians, rural Haitians face harsher impacts. The New Humanitarian reports in a September 2022 article that a single “plate of food already costs the average Haitian 35% of their daily income.” But, the average rural Haitian currently needs to spend 25% more of their daily income on food than the national average.

Children face the worst repercussions of the hunger crisis in Haiti as inadequate supplies of nutritious food affect their growth and development. Malnutrition has far-reaching impacts that affect individuals even in adulthood.

Efforts to Help Reduce Hunger in Haiti

Despite gang violence posing barriers to the delivery of food and other critical resources to those in need, the WFP and other organizations, such as USAID, are working around these barriers. As of August 2022, the WFP, for example, has been utilizing a United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) helicopter, and the WFP’s own ship, the Linda D, in order to bypass the dangerous occupied roads and deliver essentials to those in need.

Additionally, USAID has provided more than $170 million over the last two years to aid Haiti. In terms of the hunger crisis in Haiti specifically, USAID “provided more than $88.6 million to five public international
organizations and 10 non-governmental organizations in FY 2022.” This funding will go toward “cash and in-kind emergency food assistance, as well as nutrition services and agricultural support, to vulnerable households countrywide,” according to a USAID document.

To adequately address food insecurity in Haiti, aid organizations must look toward helping Haiti achieve self-sufficiency and sustainability. With less dependence on food imports and greater focus on agricultural production, Haiti can reduce its hunger woes.

– Chris Dickinson
Photo: Flickr

Impact of COVID-19 on Poverty in Malawi
The COVID-19 pandemic displayed a significant impact on the world’s economic situation and presented numerous challenges for several countries. One such country is Malawi, located in the Southern part of Africa. In 2020, Malawi stood at 174 from a sum of 189 countries on the Human Development Index. This article delves deeper into the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Malawi in terms of economic activity, education and food security.


In response to the pandemic, several governments around the world adopted restriction measures on imports and exports. Such safety measures displayed numerous ramifications on Malawi’s economy. This is especially since it heavily relies on imports pertinent to energy, agriculture and health among others. For instance, 80% of the overall population is employed by the agricultural sector, which also accounts for 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Scarce availability of such rudimentary resources caused the cost of living to increase, and in 2020, 17% of the general public lived below the poverty line. One can attribute such a decline in Malawi’s economic activity to heightened government spending during the pandemic, which accounted for $345 million. In 2020, the fiscal deficit stood at 7.7%, and economic growth declined to 1.7% compared to 5.7% in 2019.

To help curb the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Malawi, the country’s government launched cash aid for affected households and small-sized business entities. The cash aid encapsulates aiding around 1 million eligible households and businesses with $40 monthly payments, equivalent to 35,000 Malawi Kwacha.


The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many countries to shift from traditional to virtual education. This shift placed much emphasis on access to technological facilities among pupils. Increased poverty rates in Malawi, impeded learners’ ability to access online education due to limited internet facilities. According to UNICEF, COVID-19 caused students’ performance to plummet across the country. As a result, the Malawi government contracted with Telecom Network Malawi (TNM). TLM is an internet company, which, as part of the agreement, provided free unlimited internet packages to students. This agreement enabled learners across all different levels to obtain equal access to online education, especially since COVID-19 halted the education for 5.4 million students from both schools and universities.

Food Security

The impact of COVID-19 economic growth and poverty in Malawi yielded devastating results for the overall population. The outbreak of COVID-19 contributed to widespread disproportionate food insecurity. One can primarily attribute challenges relevant to nutritional support to rising poverty and declining agricultural productivity. To mitigate against food insecurity, UNICEF for instance, supported the government of Malawi in the delivery of adequate nutritional support. Other efforts to curtail hunger include World Food Programme assistance (WFP). Through funding via USAID, WFP provides financial and nutritional support to 382,000 food-deprived Malawians. Efforts such as those, assist the Malawian people to recover and survive in the midst of a food crisis, as well as allow the general public to lead healthy and sustainable lives.

The emergence of the pandemic on the global level, contributed to increased poverty and unemployment rates, alongside a declining economy. Measures and initiatives such as those that the WFP and government implemented enable the nation to undergrow economic recovery, as well as improve the living conditions across the country.

– Lisa Dzuwa
Photo: Unsplash

Elderly Poverty in Palestine
According to a 2021 report from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), only 5% of the population in Palestine is 60 or older. The World Bank reports that Palestine’s poverty rate stood at 27.3% in 2021, a decrease of around 2% from the previous year when the economy deteriorated as a consequence of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Elderly people have an increased risk of falling into poverty and the absence of adequate social protection systems exacerbates this vulnerability. The U.N. states that “in most countries, the risk of poverty increases with age.” OECD countries’ data from 2015 indicates that people in the age category of above 75 report poverty levels higher than those in the 66-75 age group. In 2017, the prevalence of elderly poverty in Palestine stood at 27%, equating to 5% of Palestine’s total number of impoverished persons.

4 Facts About Elderly Poverty in Palestine

  1. Uneven distribution. Elderly poverty in Palestine is not evenly distributed across the country. In fact, according to data gathered in 2017 by the PCBS, the percentage of older people living in poverty in the Gaza Strip stood at 47%, which is almost 29% more than in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip notes higher poverty rates in general due to the now 15-year-long Israel-led blockade of Gaza, which has brought severe economic and humanitarian consequences to Gaza.
  2. Low education levels contribute to elderly poverty. Slightly more than 40% of the elderly in Palestine have no educational attainment. Given the relationship between education and economic well-being, this could be one of the factors affecting the financial stability of older individuals in the country. Moreover, lack of education significantly affects the transmission of poverty from generation to generation and education is often a key determinant of financial success. PCBS data from 2019 shows that illiteracy rates are highest among the elderly age group of 65 and older.
  3. Lack of economic independence increases vulnerability to poverty. Another significant fact about the demographic profile of older individuals in Palestine is that only 13% of them engaged in employment in 2018, with a stark contrast between the West Bank (16%) and Gaza (7%). This suggests that a large majority of the elder community is not financially independent, making them more vulnerable to poverty. As a matter of fact, senior citizens in Palestine typically depend on other family members to meet their needs.
  4. Health and disability. Approximately 48% of Palestine’s elderly had to deal with at least one impairment or disability in 2020. Mobility difficulties are the most common, followed by visual impairments. In addition, “33% of the elderly in Palestine suffer from at least one chronic disease according to a medical diagnosis (36% in the West Bank and 27% in Gaza Strip).” For elderly people living in poverty, a lack of access to essential goods and services could easily exacerbate health conditions, PCBS reports.

Looking Ahead

A lack of adequate social safety nets exacerbates elderly poverty in Palestine. In 2020, following the negative impacts of the pandemic on the country, the U.N.’s Joint Sustainable Development Goal Fund, the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and the International Labour Organization (ILO) worked with the Palestinian Ministry of Social Development to improve the social protection system. The Joint SDG Fund says, “While the existing Palestinian social protection system is among the most advanced in the region, it is not sufficient to address the needs of the most vulnerable groups.” The collaboration aims to strengthen the social protection system and make it “more inclusive and accessible to older people, particularly women.”

In June 2022, Palestine’s GDP rose by 1.1%. A stronger financial performance may improve the living standards of the population overall.

– Caterina Rossi
Photo: Unsplash

Economic Empowerment
One of the goals of decreasing global poverty is tackling historical inequities that disadvantage certain groups in society. Local, national and international institutions work to empower women in the economic sphere to bring together a variety of groups in society. Four agencies within the United Nations began a partnership to focus on economic empowerment for women in rural regions.

A new phase of the Joint Program: Accelerating Progress Toward Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment (JP RWEE) launched in March 2022 at the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This program is a collaboration between five agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., the International Fund for Agricultural Development, U.N. Women, the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the World Food Program (WFP). As the breadth of involved agencies suggests, the program aims to build economic empowerment for rural women in the agricultural sector by increasing their ability to obtain resources and services enabling them to succeed in their own livelihoods. The intended result is a decrease in poverty in rural regions as women unify in communities and combat historically limiting social norms.

Phase 1

The first phase of the JW RWEE was launched in 2014 and ended in 2021. The focus regions were Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda. Results indicate that economic empowerment goals succeeded in raising agricultural production by 82% and assisting about 80,000 women. The new phase of the program also seeks to improve the lives of rural women through sustainable development. 

The program is part of the larger 2030 Agenda to improve poverty in rural communities. Initiatives within the program include improving food security, increasing the income of rural women, strengthening skills in leadership and community and promoting gender inclusivity to complement the goal of economic empowerment. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Cooperation Agency provide funding.

Phase 2

The second phase of the program will focus on Nepal, Niger, the Pacific Islands, Tanzania and Tunisia. Norway and Sweden donated $25 million toward the initiative. In October 2022, one component of the program began in Tanzania. Over the course of five years, the program will cost $5 million and will target the provinces of Singida, Dodoma and Zanzibar in Tanzania. In that nation, subsistence farming contributes 80% of women’s income. Thus, the five-year JP RWEE will deliver economic empowerment in the form of agricultural assistance to provide resources and skills to combat changes in climate and leadership.

In Africa, the first phase of the JP RWEE assisted Ethiopia, Liberia, Niger and Rwanda. The new phase of the program will continue to assist the country in gender equality and economic empowerment. In addition, all countries in Africa agreed to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and many also agreed to the African Charter on Human and Women’s Rights. However, despite these efforts, women in Africa still continue to face discrimination on a regular basis. The African Union’s ten-year strategy for gender equality lasts until 2028, but leaders have expressed their commitment to reinforcing gender equality across the continent beyond that timeframe.

– Kaylee Messick
Photo: Flickr

Food Systems in Sri Lanka
Food systems globally are having to adapt to increasing numbers of challenges; a growing population, supply chain inadequacies and an overwhelming strain on the environment that in itself disrupt harvests and crop growth. Food systems in Sri Lanka are experiencing major shortages in recent years due to government mismanagement and a failed transition to organic agriculture, alongside crippling economic conditions and mounting foreign debt. People’s food security is a growing concern.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reported an estimated 6.3 million people, nearly 30% of the population believed to be experiencing moderate to severe acute food insecurity in September 2022. This follows after successive poor harvests and a limit on imports of food grains as a result of a depreciating currency and rising prices of goods.

Imports account for 22% of the country’s food consumption. Previously self-sustained in the production of rice, meat, fish, eggs and fruit and vegetables, poor harvests have rendered domestic supplies inadequate, forcing Sri Lanka to import $450 million worth of rice, despite the price for the staple crop rising some 50%. Maintaining a nutritious diet has become increasingly difficult for the average household as inflation rises to 57.4% and incomes fall.

How it Happened

One can attribute poor harvests to environmental impacts and government policy. Former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa in April 2021 imposed a national ban on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in an effort to transition Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector to organic production methods. This was carried out without an integration period, effectively ordering 2 million of the countries’ farmers to go organic overnight.

Whilst the notion of organic farming is appealing through the environmental benefits it offers, the use of synthetic fertilizers attains consistency in yield that is difficult to replicate. Consequently, since the imposition of the ban, Sri Lanka’s rice production has substantially declined.

The foreign exchange felt the economic drawbacks of this policy after tea production took a hit and Sri Lanka’s export revenue decreased, weakening a key industry that employs many across rural areas. The significant decline in agricultural output sent many Sri Lankan farmers into poverty.

Intrinsically altering the nature of production and operations of food systems in Sri Lanka in such a way requires education programs to introduce farmers to alternative methods of crop growth. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka did not take such measures.

Following public outcry, in October 2021 the government went back on its synthetic fertilizer ban. Despite this, the global rise in prices has seen farmers struggling to afford imports of fertilizer, resulting in continued shortages of harvest and food.

The need for sustainability in agriculture is irrefutable; for the attainment of various SDGs as well as the health of the consumer. A gradual approach, alongside a holistic framework, reappraising all the involved sectors and stakeholders will be necessary to ensure vulnerable communities are provided with the required subsistence levels.


To curb the effects of current shortages, NGOs and foreign governments are actively sending remittance packages targeting vulnerable communities and Sri Lankan food systems.

In September 2022, the United States embassy announced a package worth $40 million supplying Sri Lankan farmers with fertilizer needed to resume crop growth. A crucial step in kickstarting the agricultural sector. The embassy also announced a package worth $20 million addressing immediate humanitarian needs across the country, focusing on the groups that the shortages most affected, including pregnant women and children.

The WFP appealed for $63 million in emergency funds earlier in the year to supply those most affected by the crisis, including vulnerable groups, pregnant women and children. It aims to offer food vouchers to help cover expenses and provide emergency nutrition and school meals until the end of the year.

Australia was the first country to meet the WFP’s appeal, from whom Sri Lanka received a donation of rice worth $15 million in September. The Australian government has scheduled further donations of rice and cooking oil to be shipped to Sri Lanka in the coming months.

Many are hungry and much rely on a successful harvest in the coming season. However, with the measures in place, some pressure on the agricultural sector and food systems in Sri Lanka is being relieved, and the immediate needs of the most vulnerable groups are receiving attention.

– Bojan Ivancic
Photo: Flickr

Child death in Honduras
Child death in Honduras is becoming a significant problem as a combination of factors is creating a crisis of poverty in the country. With the Central American country already being one of the poorest in Latin America as well as having the second-highest poverty rate in the LAC according to the World Bank data in 2020, the children of the country experience the brunt of this poverty. The most significant impact this rising poverty rate has had is pneumonia which has grown due to malnutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation and health care.

Poverty in Honduras: An Overview

  • Poverty in Honduras has been a concern for a long time. Before 2020, 25.2% of the country lived in extreme poverty and according to the World Bank, 4.4 million people lived in poverty. Since 2014, there has been very little decline in poverty levels as well.
  • When it comes to human development as well, Honduras has performed very poorly and has the lowest human development outcomes in Latin America. Children in particular suffer from child malnutrition as a result of this. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 23% of children under 5 experience stunting and anemia affects 29%.
  • The reasons for Honduras’ struggle with poverty have roots in economic, political and environmental factors. The climate makes food insecurity in the region much worse, with extreme droughts in Honduras’ Dry Corridor and irregular rainfalls that resulted in the loss of more than half of the crops in 2015. Moreover, 72% of the country relies on agriculture which makes matters worse.

Rising Cases of Pneumonia

The worsening poverty rates and resulting poor nutrition have resulted in an increase in child mortality rates in Honduras. One of the leading causes of child death in Honduras is pneumonia, which according to UNICEF is 16% of deaths of children under 5 years of age in 2019. The cause of the rising cases of pneumonia is the amount of malnutrition rising in the population due to the poverty crisis. With malnutrition comes a lack of safe drinking water, lack of sanitation and poor healthcare systems. Some parts of the country, such as the south region, are mountainous areas where finding safe drinking water is difficult and jobs are lacking.

These levels could rise as famine will likely hit the dry corridor of Honduras as well as Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. In an interview with The Guardian, Ramón Turcios, the southern regional director for the Ministry of Agriculture, places the blame for this rising poverty on the government’s lack of response to the droughts. Although The Guardian reported that the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing supplementary nutrition to children in the Vado Ancho region, many doctors and healthcare providers are concerned about the future. “I’m scared that, as a result of the drought, the situation will get worse and there will be more cases of pneumonia, especially in children under five,” said a doctor at a local health center in an interview with The Guardian.

Hope For the Future

While the future looks bleak, there is hope that Honduras might be able to tackle this crisis and help millions of children. The World Bank currently has 11 projects in Honduras that it has committed $814 million. These commitments aim to address sanitation, health care and food security. The World Bank has pledged $70 million to specifically provide water to the Dry Corridor. It is also working on a new Country Partnership Framework with Honduras as of April 2022. Honduras also partnered with UNDP in 2019 to tackle child malnutrition specifically. Although there are fears for the future, many international organizations are working with Honduras to abate the number of pneumonia cases and reduce child death in Honduras.

– Umaima Munir
Photo: Flickr

Poverty from the Israel-Palestine Conflict
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an ongoing geopolitical and humanitarian issue, which has extensively damaged both nations. The large-scale conflict erupted as recently as May 2021. Poverty from the Israel-Palestine conflict has particularly affected Palestinians’ quality of life, as many of them live as refugees both in Palestine and neighboring countries.

Conditions in Palestinian Refugee Camps

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the number of Palestinian refugees has grown to around 5.6 million. Around 1.5 million live in camps run by the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), a U.N. agency founded in 1949 to handle Palestinian refugees. Refugees are in the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as the Palestinian enclaves of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Most of them are located in Jordan and the Gaza Strip.

Lack of Health Care

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip specifically, Palestinian refugees face inhumane conditions of disease, a lack of education and difficulty in accessing water and food. Malnutrition is a major concern in Gaza. In 2019, 56% of Palestinians there were food insecure. Child stunting has also increased in Gaza refugee camps from 8.2% in 1996 to 13.2% in 2017.

Accessing health care for Palestinian refugees is difficult. In many situations, medical supplies are not available, and those who cannot access health care in the camps are often unable to seek treatment outside of them because of high costs.

Lack of Education

Palestinian children also have trouble accessing education. While the UNRWA provides education aid to around 500,000 children, the conditions are often poor and drop-out rates high. Children who can go to school must sit in overcrowded classrooms with limited learning time on foundational subjects. Extracurriculars and education for those who are disabled are unsupported because of the lack of teachers and educators.

Gaza in Trouble

About 1.5 million refugees live in the Gaza Strip, almost twice as many as in the West Bank. Jonathan Graubart, a professor at San Diego State University who specializes in Israel-Palestine relations and international law, told The Borgen Project: “It’s been very devastating to the Palestinians in Gaza. Israelis took out the source of the power. There are record heat waves, so there are health issues. Wastewater treatment has deteriorated.” “Conditions are worse,” he said. “Briefly, there was a relaxation of the strict embargo on the goods in Gaza, but that has been clamped down because of the recent attacks.” This embargo means that those living in the refugee camps cannot access supplies or foreign markets.

Poverty from the Israel-Palestine conflict has only progressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In 2021, the poverty rate in Gaza had risen to 59%, up from 43% five years prior, due to poor living conditions and a high unemployment rate. Unemployment in the Gaza Strip was 45% in 2021, and 17% in the West Bank.

Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the UNRWA, stated, “People are struggling in their daily lives to make ends meet. People are struggling daily to ensure one meal for their family.”

Alleviating Poverty from the Israel-Palestine Conflict

The UNRWA has been aiding Palestinians throughout their time at these camps. They have provided a variety of services across 300 areas including medical care, social services and emergency relief across Gaza. While the United States, the UNWRA’s biggest donor, cut funding during the Trump administration, it was resumed in 2021, with around $360 million coming through Congress, the State Department and USAID.

Since 1991, the World Food Programme (WFP) has sent food assistance to non-refugee populations in Palestine to eliminate poverty. It has recently begun to supply greenhouses and farming animals, as well as education for the youth population and people with disabilities so they can get jobs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates for Palestinians and their health care. In 2019, they established surgical and trauma centers and gave enough supplies to treat tens of thousands of people. In 2021, they called for access to medicinal supplies in Gaza during the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Poverty from the Israel-Palestine conflict is a major concern among the Palestinians in refugee camps and Palestine proper. Many can’t access food, health care or education, and have to live in inhumane conditions. Aid is helping vulnerable populations, but there is still a lot of work to be done to eradicate and prevent further poverty in these areas.

– Janae O’Connell
Photo: Flickr