The Global Report on Food Crisis warns that global hunger could become the next big impact of the pandemic. It is published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Food Programme, and 14 other organizations. It was published on Tuesday.
Dr. Arif Husain, chief economist at the World Food Programme states that COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread.
By the end of this year, about 265 million people around the world are forecast to be facing acute food insecurity. It is a double of the 130 million estimated to suffer severe food shortages last year.
The UN and other experts have warned that the coronavirus crisis will push more than a quarter of a billion people to the brink of starvation. It would be unless swift action is taken to provide food and humanitarian relief to the most at-risk regions.
The report will be presented to the UN Security Council on Tuesday afternoon. It bolsters warnings that the world could face a repeat of the 2007-08 food price rises. It had sparked widespread political upheaval. Its impacts are still being felt across the Middle East and from Asia to Latin America.
The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, stated that the report must be a call to action.
António Guterres further added that currently, the world is facing immense global challenges. This time is characterized by conflicts that range from climate shocks to economic instability. At such times, efforts shall be redoubled to defeat hunger and malnutrition. He further said that they have the tools and the knowhow. The only thing to make this happen is political will and sustained commitment by leaders and nations. António Guterres wrote in a foreword that COVID – 19 has set in motion an upheaval. It pushes even more families and communities into deeper distress.
Food experts are worried about the current circumstances. They said that donor nations have barely begun to deliver the funding. It is needed urgently on the ground. It will be used to set up networks to deliver humanitarian relief to the worst-hit areas. These deliveries need to be achieved by air. It is because ground transport is obstructed or halted over large areas.
An amount of $350m (£280m) will be needed immediately, as per the estimations of the World Food Programme. However, only about a quarter of the sum has yet been forthcoming.