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Global food insecurity, hungry during Christmas

US Eagle (Composite)

This Christmas is not a time for cheers and festivities for many in the US, with the hunger crisis affecting US households, food Insecurity is already a critical problem affecting millions of Americans.

One of the most typical factors affecting people suffering from food insecurity this time of the year is extreme weather conditions.

But this year, especially, many are suffering from hunger and high food prices due to the unprecedented inflation which has gripped the US.

Everything has gone up, is high now

US Housewife

It is concerning so I always shop online to make sure that I could find the best prices for groceries and for like gas as well.

US Shopper

Last year, more than 33 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 9 million children. The numbers dropped in 2021 thanks to the COVID relief programs.

One does not need to look any further than the US food assistance program, SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to see the severity of the problem. The federal government increased SNAP by 12 and a half percent this fall adjusted to the rate of inflation, in the fiscal year 2021, Snap served an average of 41.5 million people per month.

The US President Joe Biden may boast of a minor drop in inflation…

And yesterday, we got that we got that and that showed that manufacturing orders were up but cost increases as supply chain items were beginning to ease. The week before that we got data showing the price increase may be beginning to ease as well.

US President, Joe Biden

… But the fact of the matter is that the US population is suffering from poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and lack of access to health care. This is on top of systemic racial inequities. All of these factors have driven food insecurity that affects around 10% of all US households.

Many people in the UK are also struggling to make ends meet during Christmas, especially when it comes to food. Since the UK economy is suffering from negative economic growth that has led many to be food insecure. Driven mainly by soaring energy prices UK inflation has been running high in 2022 reaching successive new records.

In October, households paid 88.9% more on average for electricity, gas and other essentials than a year ago. So it is natural that there has been a multi fold increase when it comes to people going to food banks.

One sobering statistic is that there are now more food banks than McDonald's in the UK.

Between April and September more than 320,000 people in the UK, for the first time, walked into food banks of the Trussell Trust, which is the leading charity fighting against hunger and 1.3 million emergency food parcels were provided across the country.

Yet it appears that in the UK things are a lot worse when it comes to energy bills, especially during winter. Families across the UK have to juggle household incomes and make a choice between staying warm or buying food.

So across the UK, we have what we call fuel poverty, which is if you have to spend 10% of your income to afford a decent level of heat and power you're regarded as being in fuel poverty, September 2021, there are about 4 million households across the UK in fuel poverty.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, National Energy Action

And that is quite a startling fact considering how the UK is part of the G7 group of countries. Total wages in the UK have also fallen by 3.9% annually in the quarter to October, accounting for inflation, making the cost of living crisis worse for the average Briton.

But how did things come to this, not only for the UK or Europe, but for many other parts of the world, especially during Christmas?

COVID aside, the US backed Ukrainian conflict is one major reason driving up energy prices and hence inflation. Christmas is known to be a time of giving, yet major donations have been going to Ukraine instead of citizens of the donating countries.

The Kiel Institute has tracked €93.8 billion from 40 countries, of which €52.3 billion came from the United States, €29.2 billion from the European Union, and €12.3 billion from other countries, mostly the United Kingdom.

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