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Famine9 min read


Which countries face the greatest famines in 2021?

Blog Team
Feb 23, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the health of people all around the world. But it’s not just the virus that is killing people … it’s also a lack of food.

With new variants of COVID-19 popping up around the globe, many countries have gone back under strict lockdowns. Businesses are closed. Food prices are sky-high. And out-of-work families are struggling to survive now more than ever.

The coronavirus itself is no longer these people’s biggest concern — starvation is.

That’s why families around the world desperately need your help. When you give by March 31, your gift will DOUBLE to rush emergency food and other aid to 2X as many people.

Before the pandemic, people in developing countries often made less than $1 a day. They could barely afford to put food on the table, and their children often went to bed hungry. Some even died from malnutrition.

Now, the U.N. says the number of starving people around the world has more than doubled since this time last year and that as many as 36 countries could experience severe famines in 2021.

Here are some of the countries where this global food crisis is worst:


According to the U.N., one out of every three people in Venezuela is facing extreme hunger. So, it’s no surprise that this South American country is now considered the hungriest nation on earth.

Families have been struggling for years due to Venezuela’s intense spiraling economic collapse. Inflation has skyrocketed so high that at one point, milk was being sold for the equivalent of $700!

Our partners told us of one family who used to own a clothing manufacturing company until they had to sell their equipment to buy food. The next thing to go was their cars.

It was Venezuela’s food crisis that left this teenager weighing only 55 pounds and made families so desperate that they slaughtered their neighbor’s cows and hauled away the meat.

And that was before the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people lost their jobs during lockdown, so they have no way of buying food. Millions have chosen to flee Venezuela rather than continue to starve. But many can’t even afford to make the trip and are still struggling to afford the inflated prices.

That’s the challenge Danilo’s mother faces every day. When one of our Venezuela partners visited Danilo’s home, he and his mother were on the verge of starvation.

“Why don’t they have a fridge?” our partner asked.

The local pastor who accompanied him simply shook his head.

“Because they don’t have food,” he answered.

When you give by March 31, your doubled gift will help rescue two people like Danilo and his mother. You’ll provide emergency food plus other physical help and spiritual hope to places like Venezuela and other hungry nations around the globe.


Burundi was already one of the poorest countries in the world even before last year brought the pandemic. In 2019, more than 65 percent of the population lived below the poverty line, and half of all Burundians didn’t have consistent access to food.

Today, those numbers are even higher. Burundi is considered the second hungriest nation on earth, with only Venezuela ranking lower in food security.

Burundi’s economy is based around agriculture, but many people like Euphriase can’t afford to buy land or are too weak to cultivate it. Even if someone is able to do a little farming, most of his crops won’t survive.

Because of recent droughts, plants and livestock are withering. Harvests have been delayed. And more and more families have been forced to go hungry.

Children especially have been affected.

When our Burundi partners met 1-year-old Kentine, she weighed only 6 pounds — the same as a newborn! Fortunately, because of generous donors, Kentine is now recovering and receiving nutritious food on a daily basis.

That’s the kind of help and hope you give when you donate.


Syria, the world’s 7th hungriest nation, has suffered from years of political and civil unrest. A decade-long civil war has forced half the country’s population to flee for their lives. And those who remain are barely surviving.

Food is scarce. Job opportunities are limited. Now, parents lie awake at night wondering if their home will be bombed … or if their malnourished child will wake up in the morning.

Since the start of the pandemic, 700,000 more children in Syria are facing starvation.

“Please, take my kids!” one Syrian man said to our partners. “My wife and I can starve, but I want my children to live.”

refugee, baby, man, Iraq, Mosul

When the coronavirus hit, this father had lost his job as a laborer. His family was already living day-to-day. Now, they “live like dogs,” he said. He would rather give his children over to someone else than watch them starve in his own home.

People living in northwest Syria have it especially hard. Recently, heavy rainfall flooded nearly 200 displacement camps, destroying what few resources these families owned.

It’s now the middle of winter, and thousands of people are without food and shelter.

When you give to provide food and other critical resources, you’ll be helping to rescue people like these refugees and parents who can’t afford to feed their kids.


Agriculture makes up almost 75 percent of Uganda’s economic system, so when farmers could no longer work in the fields during lockdown, their harvests were ruined.

“Coronavirus came during the period of growing food,” one of our Uganda partners said last spring. “We are supposed to be growing food. This is our planting season, but we can’t do much. Without food, what are we going to feed the kids?”

Uganda was already one of the poorest nations in the world. Now, the pandemic’s aftermath is threatening to push 2.6 million more people into poverty, and families are facing a major food shortage because fields lay empty throughout 2020.

“I saw people selling household items just to earn bread,” said Pascal, a former Children of the World choir member from Uganda. “Someone is like, ‘Now what do we do now that we don’t have anything to eat?’ They take out the mattress, and they take it for sale.”

If help doesn’t arrive soon, these men, women, and children will run out of things to sell and may not survive much longer. That’s why your gift today is so important!


Nicaragua has always been one of the poorest nations in Central America. Then, the pandemic hit … followed by back-to-back hurricanes that were some of the strongest storms the country has ever seen.

Our Nicaragua partner recently summed up the country’s condition in one word: chaos.

“For 2021, they’re beginning the year with the greatest food crisis they’ve had in the last 20 years,” he said.

In November, Hurricanes Eta and Iota swept through Central America and destroyed thousands of acres of crops. Entire villages flooded, and thick mud covered the fields, leaving farmers in Nicaragua with little to no harvest.

This is bad news for a country where 70 percent of the population works in agriculture.

Now, people have no source of income. And out-of-work families have no way of feeding their children.

When our partners arrived in one Nicaraguan village shortly after the storms, many people hadn’t eaten in over four days. Thankfully, gifts from the World Help family provided emergency food and other lifesaving supplies.

But the needs in this struggling country are still incredibly great.

Your gift could be the difference between life and death for families facing famine around the world.

When you give before our fiscal year ends on March 31, every dollar will DOUBLE thanks to a $135,000 matching gift. That means every $12 will help provide food, clean water, medicine, and more for TWO people in need.

Plus, you’ll help World Help avoid a revenue shortfall so our global partners can continue meeting the physical and spiritual needs of people in the most desperate situations.

Please give before the March 31 deadline … and provide help and hope for 2X as many people.

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