Coronavirus could double the number of people going hungry in the world to 265 million, UN warns
- WFP: Covid-19 could be ‘catastrophic’ for those already ‘hanging by a thread’
- Projections suggest 183 million more people risk slipping into ‘food crisis’
- The report states 10 percent more people are in crisis this year than last
- Report states this is due to conflicts, economic shocks and weather events
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
The coronavirus pandemic could nearly double the number of people around the world facing acute hunger, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Tuesday.
The warning came as the WFP and other partners released a new report on food crises around the world, and said that COVID-19 is adding additional stress to global food provisions.
This is due to people with the coronavirus overwhelming hospitals and governments imposing lockdowns that have disrupted the economy and thrown people out of work.
‘COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread,’ the WFP’s Senior Economist Arif Husain said in a statement. ‘We must collectively act now to mitigate the impact of this global catastrophe,’ he added.
Employees of the World Food Programme (WFP) wearing protective masks distribute relief items to displaced Yemenis amid the coronavirus pandemic, in the capital Sana
The fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises found that food insecurity was already on the rise last year before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.
It found that 135 million people in 55 countries were in living in situations of acute food crises or outright humanitarian emergencies last year.
‘The number of people facing acute food insecurity stands to rise to 265 million in 2020, up by 130 million from the 135 million in 2019, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19,’ the WFP said its projections had shown.
The increase by more than 20 million people in this year’s report takes it to a record level in the four years the report has been compiled.
Comparing 50 countries in this year’s reports to the one from last year, the number of people in food crisis rose by nearly 10 percent to 123 million people.
The increase was due to conflicts, economic shocks and weather-related events such as drought.
The report found another 183 million were at risk of slipping into food crisis ‘if confronted by an additional shock or stressor.’ Covid-19 could easily turn out to be such a shock.
The report is compiled and published annually by a number of groups and aid organisations, and is due to be presented later Tuesday to the UN Security Council by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization and World Food Programme.
According to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, there have now been 2,499,723 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 171,652 deaths globally.
Arif Husain, the World Food Programme’s senior economist (pictured) has warned that Covid-19 could be catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread and could tip millions more into food crisis around the world
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