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Global Hunger and “Biblical” Famines to Double Says UN

The world is facing the risk of “biblical” famines as the coronavirus crisis threatens to double global hunger, the U.N. warns.

On Tuesday, the U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) projected that the number of people likely to starve stood to rise to 265 million by the end of 2020, up from 135 million in 2019.

It means an additional 130 million people are facing food insecurity, mainly due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Wages, supply chains, and humanitarian aid are under pressure due to the outbreak.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the global economy could experience the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The IMF projected global growth would contract by 3% in 2020 because of the virus.

The hunger pandemic

On Tuesday, David Beasley addressed the U.N. Security Council, saying the world was facing the worst humanitarian crisis since WW2. Beasley is an Executive Director at WFP.

He said the world faces a hunger pandemic while at the same time dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Beasley, the WFP is currently providing food support to almost 100 million people. However, he warned that the virus could make it difficult for WFP to reach them, urging the U.N. for more help.

In a video conference, he said over 300,000 people could starve to death every day in three months if they didn’t receive life-saving assistance they need.

The number excludes increased starvation due to Covid-19 deaths.

Beasley requested a new finding of $350 million to establish logistics hubs to keep global humanitarian supply chains moving.

He also urged nations involved in a conflict to provide swift and unimpeded humanitarian access to vulnerable communities.

He emphasized the importance of securing access and avoiding disruptions and shortfalls to trade. Without that, the world could face multiple famines of biblical proportions in a few months.

In 2019, WFP identified ten countries facing an economic crisis and climate change. Some of the worst affected nations and at risk of acute food shortage include; Yemen, South Sudan, Venezuela, and Nigeria.

WFP said Yemen was likely to suffer the  most during the world’s food crisis in 2020. This is because of the conflict, pests, climate conflict, and macroeconomic crisis.

Meanwhile, in East Africa, severe locust swarms could aggravate acute food insecurity.

Arif Husain, who is a Senior Economist at WFP, said that the coronavirus crisis could be catastrophic for millions who were already hanging on by a thread.

It’s even worse for millions of people who depend on the daily wage to eat. Lockdown and the global economic recession have already destroyed their nest eggs.

It will only take one more shock, such as Covid-19, to push them over the edge.

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