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Climate Worsening Africa's Hunger - UN

FILE: The carcass of a dead cow lies on the ground in the village of Hargududo, 80 kilometers from the city of Gode, Ethiopia. Taken April 07, 2022.

UPDATED TO ADD WFP FOOD CONVOY REACHING TIGRAY: As COP27 delegates in Egypt debate planet-heating emissions, the climate crisis is exacerbating devastating hunger across several African nations and will worsen further without urgent action, the UN said Wednesday.

"If drastic measures are not taken urgently, hunger will increase as climate change is felt everywhere, most intensely in vulnerable areas, such as Sudan," said Zitouni Ould-Dada, from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The climate summit in Egypt, billed as the "African COP", must be where the continent's food security is addressed, he said.

But despite the vast resources of the continent, many nations are reliant on importing food, Ould-Dada added.

"It does not make sense for Africa to import 40 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine when it itself is so rich in resources," he said, on the sidelines of the climate talks in Egypt.

When the COP27 summit opened, a joint statement from over a dozen UN agencies and major charities warned the Horn of Africa was gripped by the "longest and most severe drought in recent history", warning that parts of Somalia are "projected to face famine".

Africa is home to some of the countries hardest hit by an onslaught of weather extremes.

Though linking the heating planet to conflict is complex, the International Crisis Group calls climate change "a threat multiplier" that increases "food insecurity, water scarcity and resource competition, while disrupting livelihoods and spurring migration."

Sudan is among the East African nations facing "acute food insecurity", the Famine Early Warnings Systems Network warned earlier this month, highlighting the dire situation, especially in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

In Ethiopia, The World Food Program said its first aid convoy since the signing of a landmark peace deal between Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan rebels had arrived in the war-torn Tigray region on Wednesday.

"@WFP convoy just entered North West #Tigray via #Gondar corridor for the first time," the UN agency said on Twitter, with a spokeswoman telling AFP it was the first to arrive in the region since the November 2 ceasefire agreement.

Elsewhere, around a third of Sudan's population, over 15 million people, will need aid next year, the highest level for over a decade, according to the World Food Program (WFP).

Sudan is the world's fifth most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change, according to a 2020 ranking in the Global Adaptation Index, compiled by Notre Dame University in the United States.