COVID-19 not only disrupted the global economies but also worsened the food security issue in many developing countries. The problem has now reached a dangerous phase, according to the announcement made by the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The announcement made said that a wave of famine could sweep the globe. WFP Executive Director David Beasley said that the pandemic is far from over.
Back in April, in a briefing, Mr. Beasley warned the world about the same. Donors around the world showed interest in saving the lives and support the economies and a $17 trillion in fiscal stimulus packages was spent. WFP has planned to reach 138 million people this year, and 85 million are already reached, this is the biggest outreach by the agency so far. Mr. Beasley said that resources are still very scarce and there lies a risk of famine, that will affect the whole world.
2021 an Important Year
He also pointed out that most of the countries are running out of resources and urged the authorities not to walk away from their commitment to humanitarian assistance. He also highlighted the need to take sensible measures to prevent the coronavirus along with keeping the borders open for trade. The condition in the African continent is a matter of life and death, he cited. A report presented by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that for every COVID-19 death prevented, 80 children may die due to lack of routine vaccination.
Hunger in Africa and the Middle East
The middle east has seen an increase in disasters and violence along with the pandemic. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had 15.5 million people facing a food crisis, now has 22 million. In Nigeria, 4.3 million people, in Burkina Faso, around 3.3 million people have been badly affected. The pandemic has only worsened the condition in these vulnerable countries.
In Yemen, 20 million people are affected by the crisis and 3 million are facing starvation due to coronavirus. The funding has also been reduced due to unprecedented expenditures which have also reduced the number of beneficiaries. The WFP will be forced to cut the ration for 4.4 million people by December if there are not enough resources provided. There are 2000 billionaires in the world with a total net worth of $8 trillion and Mr. Beasley requested their assistance. WFP needs $4.9 billion a year to provide sufficient food to 30 million people.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lawcock said that 40% of GDP in 10 most affected countries is lost due to conflicts and the pandemic. The current number of people facing food insecurity is 135 million, which will double to 270 million people by the end of 2020. The World Bank said that this number is the highest since the 1990s. In Sahel, violence, and conflicts have left 1 million people homeless. The majority of these people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Mr. Lawcock requested the UN Security Council to aim for peaceful negotiations and end conflicts to ensure the economic impact of conflicts is minimum and it does not hamper humanitarian assistance.
Increase in Humanitarian Support
Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, said that the crisis will be made worse if their conflicts exist between the countries. Already millions are on the verge of dying of hunger, hence economic turbulence must be avoided. The most affected people are the poor in the urban settlements- especially children, women and the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Author: Subhasri Banerjee
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