David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme, told Associated Press that “2021’s going to be a very bad year”.
He said the agency was able to meet most needs this year because nations and people responded with more donations after the World Food Programme was named winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
But needs are increasing as the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on national and world economies and more people are running out of food.
Beasley said the number of people facing crisis levels of hunger is increasing toward 270 million.
"There's about three dozen countries that could possibly enter the famine conditions if we don't have the money we need," Beasley said.
According to a joint analysis by WFP and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in October, 20 countries "are likely to face potential spikes in high acute food insecurity" in the next three to six months, "and require urgent attention."
Of those, Yemen, South Sudan, northeastern Nigeria and Burkina Faso have some areas that "have reached a critical hunger situation following years of conflict or other shocks," the UN agencies said, and any further deterioration in coming months "could lead to a risk of famine."
Other countries requiring "urgent attention" are Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somali, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, they said.