Global hunger
Russia-Ukraine war has made the world more food insecure. TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images

New research has revealed that the gas price hike caused by the Russia-Ukraine war could cause millions of extra malnourishment deaths.

The gas price hike has increased fertiliser prices, which in turn has led to an increase in food prices worldwide. According to researchers at Edinburgh University, as many as 100 million people will be left undernourished if the fertiliser price rise continues.

Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East will be the most affected regions if actions are not taken to tackle this situation.

"This could be the end of an era of cheap food. While almost everyone will feel the effects of that on their weekly shop, it's the poorest people in society, who may already struggle to afford enough healthy food, who will be hit hardest," said Dr. Peter Alexander, of the university's School of GeoSciences.

Nitrogen-based fertilisers have become expensive because Russia has limited natural gas exports. Natural gas is used in making such fertilisers.

The researchers further stated that this could also lead to environmental damage as countries may be forced to increase the area under cultivation to increase production which may lead to deforestation, habitat loss and dwindling biodiversity, writes The Telegraph.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the biggest global producers of staple cereals, oilseeds, and fertiliser. The war between the two nations has disrupted supply chains globally.

It has led to an increase in global prices and could cause a hunger catastrophe in conflict-prone regions like Somalia and Yemen, according to the World Food Program. The situation has already worsened in countries like Lebanon, Sudan, and Venezuela.

Countries like Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Austria, and Morocco have seen an increase in the price of something as basic as onions. However, even richer countries are already dealing with a crippling cost of living crisis. In the UK, the current vegetable shortage has been labelled the "salad crisis."

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 3 billion people across the world cannot afford healthy food, and the situation is only expected to deteriorate due to the Russian war in Ukraine.

"An estimated 45 million children under the age of five were suffering from wasting, the deadliest form of malnutrition, which increases children's risk of death by up to 12 times," added the report by FAO.

A United Nations report also revealed that the world is already behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.