Caritas Internationalis Draws Attention to “unprecedented food crisis” in Parts of Africa

Credit: Caritas Internationalis

Ahead of this year’s World Humanitarian Day (WHD) to be marked Friday, August 19,  the leadership of the global confederation of Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis (CI), is drawing the attention of the international community to “unprecedented food crisis” in parts of Africa.

In a Thursday, August 18 report, CI officials speak about the “tragic worsening of the humanitarian situation at the global level, which is resulting in the suffering of millions of people.”

“Caritas Internationalis is witnessing a global and unprecedented food crisis which is particularly severe in the Horn of Africa and Sahel regions, where millions of people are affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition,” officials of the global confederation of Catholic relief agencies say.

The situation of severe food crisis, they say, “also alerts us to the fact that if necessary measures are not taken very soon, the global humanitarian situation is likely to continue to worsen.”

In the August 18 report, CI leadership highlights some of the factors contributing to the “unprecedented food crisis” across the globe.


“The war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the consequences of climate change have had a global impact and led to a series of major humanitarian crises originating from several interconnected factors,” CI officials say.

They note that “many countries are on the brink of a major food crisis aggravated by poor economic conditions, making the poorest and the most vulnerable dependent on humanitarian aid.”

“Extreme climate-related events, violence and conflict have created new forms of vulnerability, and millions are leaving their homes in order to save their own lives,” officials of the entity that shares the Catholic Church mission to serve the poor and to promote charity and justice across the globe say.

They also attribute the acute food insecurity and malnutrition to “other crises which have been ongoing for years, or even decades, such as those in Syria, Venezuela, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.” 

On August 14, Pope Francis drew the attention of the international community to “the serious humanitarian crisis” that the people of God in Somalia and the horn of Africa nations are facing. 

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“I wish to draw your attention to the serious humanitarian crisis affecting Somalia and parts of neighboring countries. The people of this region, already living in very precarious conditions, are now in mortal danger because of drought,” the Holy Father said after leading the Angelus prayer at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square.

He appealed for support from across the globe, saying, “I hope that international solidarity can respond effectively to this emergency.”

“Unfortunately, war diverts attention and resources, but these are the goals that demand the greatest commitment: the fight against hunger, health, education,” Pope Francis said August 14.

In the August 18 report, the Secretary General of CI is quoted as regretting the fact that “today, our world is facing a human tragedy wherein people are losing their right to live as dignified human beings.”

“We echo and support Pope Francis’ incessant cry to support integral ecology as a solution to the humanitarian crisis our world is facing. This is the only way out of this crisis,”, Aloysius John says.


WHD was established by the United Nations (UN) in 2003 following  a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, that killed 22 humanitarian aid workers.

The UN indicates that "Each year, WHD focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers."

In the August 18 CI report, officials of the Catholic entity guided by the vision to be a sign of God’s love for humanity in Jesus Christ expresses the hope that WHD 2022 will provide a way forward for fundamental human rights issues.

“We hope that this World Humanitarian Day will present all people with an opportunity to address the issue of fundamental human rights through appropriate actions,” CI Secretary General says about WHD 2022 being marked under the theme, "the importance, effectiveness and positive impact of humanitarian work".

He notes that “universal solidarity and commitment to the human cause with supportive political will is the only way to reduce the incalculable human suffering of the most vulnerable.”

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CI leadership urges decision makers “to listen to the voices of the poorest and put their aspirations for a dignified life at the center of all political decisions.”

“In particular, sustainable actions to mitigate the negative impact of climate change, one of the primary root causes of humanitarian crises, must be considered a priority to be urgently implemented,” CI officials further say.

They add, “Work to promote peace and reconciliation at the community level must be supported.”

On the occasion of WHD 2022, CI officials thank their “Confederation’s humanitarian workers, who, in 200 countries and territories, protect and promote human dignity and serve, accompany and defend the poor and most vulnerable.”

They also announce a campaign dubbed “Our Local Heroes” that is being promoted on Caritas webpage, and the entity’s other social media forums, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, among others.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.