"Drought Touches a Quarter of Humanity, U.N. Says, Disrupting Lives Globally"

"The crisis, worsened partly by climate change, has been accompanied by soaring food prices and could have consequences for hunger, elections and migration worldwide."

"Pandemic. War. Now drought.

Olive groves have shriveled in Tunisia. The Brazilian Amazon faces its driest season in a century. Wheat fields have been decimated in Syria and Iraq, pushing millions more into hunger after years of conflict. The Panama Canal, a vital trade artery, doesn’t have enough water, which means fewer ships can pass through. And the fear of drought has prompted India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, to restrict the export of most rice varieties.

The United Nations estimates that 1.84 billion people worldwide, or nearly a quarter of humanity, were living under drought in 2022 and 2023, the vast majority in low- and middle-income countries. “Droughts operate in silence, often going unnoticed and failing to provoke an immediate public and political response,” wrote Ibrahim Thiaw, head of the United Nations agency that issued the estimates late last year, in his foreword to the report.

The many droughts around the world come at a time of record-high global temperatures and rising food-price inflation, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, involving two countries that are major producers of wheat, has thrown global food supply chains into turmoil, punishing the world’s poorest people."

Somini Sengupta reports for the New York Times January 11, 2024.

Source: NYTimes, 01/17/2024