Some 258 million people needed emergency food aid last year because of conflict, economic shocks and climate disasters, a UN report said Wednesday, a sharp rise from 193 million the previous year.
"More than a quarter of a billion people are now facing acute levels of hunger, and some are on the brink of starvation. That's unconscionable," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
It was "a stinging indictment of humanity's failure to make progress... to end hunger, and achieve food security and improved nutrition for all," he said.
More than 40 percent of those in serious need of food lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Yemen, the UN report said.
"Conflicts and mass displacement continue to drive global hunger," Guterres said.
"Rising poverty, deepening inequalities, rampant underdevelopment, the climate crisis and natural disasters also contribute to food insecurity."
In 2022, 258 million people faced high levels of acute food insecurity in 58 countries or territories, up from 193 million in 53 countries the previous year, the report said.
This overall figure has now increased for the fourth consecutive year in a row.