World On Brink Of ‘Hunger Pandemic’ As COVID-19 Spreads, Warns UN

23 Avril, 2020, 00:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Volunteers for the Edible London food project remove the plastic packaging and check the quality of donated bananas to be put in food packs and delivered to residents who need it in the Haringey Council area at a hub setup as a result of coronavirus insi

The United Nations-backed World Food Programme on Tuesday said that 265 million people could see acute food insecurity, multiplying the roughly 135 million who are now facing shortages.

"The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has also released $95 million to kick-start the Covid-19 response, help contain the spread of the virus, maintain supply chains, and provide assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people, including women and girls, refugees and internally displaced persons".

Famines could take hold in "about three dozen countries" in a worst-case scenario, the executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a stark address on Tuesday.

"These new projections show the scale of the catastrophe we are facing", said WFP chief economist Arif Husain. The United Nations warned that the coronavirus pandemic could trigger starvation in already vulnerable countries as the worldwide freeze on commerce sent shock waves through financial markets. "In many places, this human suffering is the heavy price of conflict", he added. "I do believe that with our expertise and partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programs necessary to make certain the COVID-19 pandemic does not become a humanitarian and food crisis catastrophe".

"These were the people we were concerned about - those who were OK before Covid and now they are not", he said, adding he was "really worried" about people living in countries with little or no government safety nets. Lockdowns and economic recession are expected to lead to a major loss of income among the working poor.

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The number of acutely food-insecure people in Yemen is "expected to exceed 17 million", he said. Economic crises were the third biggest driver, impacting 24 million people.

Starvation in as many as three dozen countries is "a very real and unsafe possibility" due to ongoing wars and conflicts, economic crises and natural disasters, World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley told the U.N. Security Council during a virtual briefing. But this is also a world where donors are reeling from the steep financial cost of their own Covid-19 crises.

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.

He added: "At this time of enormous global challenges, from conflicts to climate shocks to economic instability, we must redouble our efforts to defeat hunger and malnutrition". It is more severe than chronic hunger, which is when a person is unable to consume enough food to maintain a normal, active lifestyle, according to the WFP.

According to the latest data, worldwide more than 2.5 million infected with coronavirus, of which 171 thousand died, more than 659 thousand were cured.

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