Starvation is being turned into a weapon of war and children are its main victims. Nonprofit organization Save the Children recently released a report showing that more than half a million infants in conflict zones could die of malnutrition by the end of the year if they do not receive the necessary nutrition, according to its analysis. That’s the equivalent of one every minute.
It’s not that nutritious food is not available, per se, it’s that accessing the food is impossible due to the armed conflict surrounding them with warring parties blocking the delivery of food and medicine with devastating consequences, showing what former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon described as the “shocking depths of inhumanity.” Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, intentionally starving civilians is a war crime, yet in countries like Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, and South Sudan the practice continues.
Using U.N. data, Save the Children estimates that 4.5 million children under the age of 5 will need treatment for life-threatening hunger this year in the most dangerous conflict zones. That’s a 20 percent increase from 2016. At current rates, only 1 in 3 will receive treatment, and 590,000 could die as a result.
In the face of such nightmarish conditions, Action Against Hunger is using design to make a point that deliberately using hunger to harm the most vulnerable is as bad as using bombs and bullets. A new public awareness campaign, #StopHungerCrime, is turning weapons of war into tools to fight hunger. Specifically, they are making cutlery. They collected bullets seized during armed conflicts, melted them, and then turned them into knives and forks. It’s a cool idea that makes a very pointed message–hunger should not be a weapon.