Disasters can impact food security in different ways. Sometimes, they directly damage food production areas, for example when a drought or storm destroys crops and livestock or breaks supply chains by which people buy and sell food. Other times, disasters can indirectly reduce food access by leaving households financially unable to purchase basic food products.
On 14 August 2021, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake with an epicentre in the Canal du Sud (120 km west of the capital, Port-au-Prince). The earthquake killed over 2,200 people and injured more than 12,000.
Southern Madagascar’s worst drought in 40 years led to severe stress on vegetation, triggering a drastic decline in rice, maize and cassava production. By December 2021, more than 1.6 million people were estimated to have been suffering high levels of food insecurity.
On 15 January 2022, the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano eruption was felt across the Pacific Ocean and beyond, releasing energy equivalent to hundreds of Hiroshima nuclear explosions and creating supersonic air pressure waves that were observed from space.
The vaquita is a species of porpoise on the brink of extinction with less than 10 individuals estimated to be left in the wild. Although not commercially targeted, the vaquita is collateral damage in an ongoing conflict between fishers, government and international illegal trade.
In 2020, the Arctic had the second-highest air temperatures and second-lowest area of sea ice coverage on record. Temperatures reached 38.0°C in Verkhoyansk, provisionally the highest known temperature anywhere north of the Arctic Circle.
From October to November 2020, 9 storms in 7 weeks caused widespread flooding in central Viet Nam. As a result, a total of 7.7 million people were affected by the disruption to basic services and 291 people lost their lives.
Chinese Paddlefish have been around for an estimated 200 million years, but were declared extinct in 2020. While overfishing and pollution played an accelerating role, much of its demise can be attributed to the multiple dam constructions on the Yangtze River.
Beginning in late 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread among the world population, infecting and killing millions of people, disrupting social life, travel, business and education across the globe.
On 20 May 2020, Super Cyclone Amphan hit the Sundarbans region bordering India and Bangladesh as a Category 5 storm, with wind speeds over 260 km/h, killing over 100 people and displacing over 4.9 million.
Between 2019 and 2021, swarms of desert locusts formed and spread across 23 countries on multiple continents, including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. They devoured their weight in vegetation every day. One mega-swarm alone, measured in Kenya in 2020, was the size of the country of Luxembourg.
During summer 2020, around 2,300 km of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia was affected by a record mass bleaching event where corals expel their algae and turn white. Over 25% of the Great Barrier Reef suffered severe bleaching, seriously threatening them with extinction.