JOHANNESBURG— Hunger hit Africa hard in 2015 as climate change, conflict and enduring poverty ravaged multiple countries and left tens of millions of people in dire straits.
Countries as diverse as South Sudan, Malawi and the Central African Republic have sounded the alarm in recent months. Many southern and eastern African nations are suffering from the double whammy of two droughts in a row. Others, like the Central African Republic and Sudan, are in trouble because of conflict and massive displacement.
The U.N. World Food Program says sub-Saharan Africa already has the world’s highest prevalence of hunger; one person in four is undernourished. Every day in Africa, 23 million children go to school hungry.
The agency’s David Orr said that in the lower half of Africa, where weather is the main culprit, 2015 has been an unusually difficult year.
“I think what makes things different this year is the combination of drought and then an El Nino weather event coming right after that, so that people are effectively being hit by two consecutive years of reduced rainfall," he said. "It's particularly difficult on a region where 70 percent of the population are subsistence farmers.”