Calls to address global famine in budget

In a budget submission paper, the Help Fight Famine alliance has recommended the government provide $150 million for relief in some of the worst-affected areas such as Syria, Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

The alliance, comprised of organisations such as Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision, also urged the government to invest in a global food security strategy and increase development assistance to the Asia-Pacific region.

Help Fight Famine spokesman Tim Costello said the hunger crisis in affected areas around the world would kill more people each year than the entire COVID pandemic.

“This is not the same old world hunger story you’ve heard before. COVID-19 doubled the number of people living with life-threatening hunger,” he said.

“Anthony Albanese faces his first humanitarian test as prime minister after declaring international aid for developing countries was both the right thing to do and in Australia’s national interest.”

The budget submission comes as a recent survey, commissioned by Caritas Australia, found that 70 per cent of those polled believed more should be done to help the poor.

While the survey found 98 per cent of respondents were aware of the current conflict in Ukraine, 56 per cent were aware of the impact the war was having on the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Less than half of those surveyed knew about the current conflict underway in Yemen.

Plan International Australia chief executive Susanne Legena said more assistance was needed from the Commonwealth for affected areas.

She said events such as COVID, as well as the war in Ukraine and climate change were exacerbating the situation.

“Australia can help save millions of lives from starvation if we act now,” she said.

“The war in Ukraine has sent shockwaves through the global food system. Help Fight Famine is urgently calling for $150 million with the prospect of a generation being destroyed as children are the first and hardest hit.”

Australian Associated Press