Middle East crisis: Food insecurity, hunger

A dove flies in the foreground as children stand among the debris of houses destroyed in a conflict.

Children caught in the Middle East crisis are enduring the devastating impacts of armed violence, hunger, psychosocial distress, and disrupted education. Many face the imminent threat of starvation.

“All children matter deeply to God,” says Eleanor Monbiot, World Vision’s regional leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe. “The world must respond urgently to avoid the needless deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and allow a generation of children to start healing from this crisis. We hope and pray for de-escalation of this situation and an immediate end to the hostilities. Countless children’s futures hang in the balance now. Every day we wait is a day too long.”

The impact of intensified conflict would be catastrophic for the region’s children. Food security experts estimate that every day, dozens of children in the northern area are dying of hunger, with tens of thousands more facing the immediate risk of starvation. The lives of nearly 150,000 girls and boys in the northern region are at imminent risk.

An entire generation is at stake if humanitarian organizations are unable to deliver the aid needed to stem the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the region.

World Vision calls on all parties to step away from escalation of violence and find a path to an immediate and lasting peace for the sake of the children, Monbiot says.

“Providing children with the food and medicine they need is the most sacred duty of the international community. It is the only way we will bring back some light into this terrible darkness,” Monbiot says.

A joint report by The Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme identified the Middle East region among the latest “Hunger Hotspots,” forecasted severe hunger from November 2023 to April 2024.

Mary Njeri, director of World Vision’s Global Hunger Response, underscored the urgency: “Immediate action will save the lives of thousands of children. But just surviving is not enough. The girls and boys who do live will still suffer from the long-term, life-altering physical and mental effects of hunger and malnutrition. Enduring extreme food deprivation has an impact on all aspects of their lives. Their ability to live up to their God-given potential will be limited and their communities and countries will be denied the contributions they would make.”

World Vision is responding to the needs of vulnerable children and families across the region, including in the West Bank and Lebanon. We deliver critical humanitarian aid, including lifesaving food, cash and voucher assistance; access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene support; psychosocial support to children and their families; and more.

World Vision also operates in other countries that have been affected across the region, including Jordan and Syria. In these countries, we’re monitoring the situation and are ready to respond.

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