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COVID-19 could double number facing acute hunger; $350 mn needed for containment: UN GRFC 2020

In accordance with the fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2020) titled “2020 Global Report on Food Crises-Joint Analysis for better decisions” by United Nation’s (UN) World Food Programme (WFP), the coronavirus pandemic could nearly double the number of people around the world facing acute hunger.Global hunger could double due to COVID-19

  • The number of people from 50 countries in the food crisis rose by nearly 10% to 123 million people from 112 million in the 2019 edition.
  • The reports also found another 183 million were at risk of slipping into a food crisis.
  • The 10 countries faced worst food crisis in 2019 by number of people in Crisis are Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Nigeria and Haiti.
  • It should be noted that the WEP estimates that $350m (£280m) needed immediately, but only about a quarter of the sum has yet been available.

Key reasons behind acute hunger:

  • On the food supply side, harvests have been good for 2020 outlook but the movement restriction to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus has disrupted the transport and processing of food and other critical goods, increasing delivery times and reducing availability of even the most basic food items which will result in a food crisis.

Key Points:

-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.

-135 million people in 55 countries were living in situations of acute food crises or outright humanitarian emergencies last year.

-The number of acutely malnourished children under 5 years across the 55 countries/territories are 17 million, analysed in 2019.

-Labour shortages due to COVID-19 may put further strain on food production, protectionist measures may increase food prices, and rising unemployment will reduce people’s purchasing power, driving more into hunger.

About GRFC 2020:
The report is compiled and published annually by a number of groups and aid organisations. The report is produced by the Global Network against Food Crises, an international alliance working to address the root causes of extreme hunger.UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), WFP and 14 other organisations.

  • It provides an analysis of the drivers that are contributing to food crises across the globe, and examines how the COVID-19 pandemic might contribute to their perpetuation or deterioration.

About WFP:
Establishment– 1961
Headquarters– Rome, Italy
Executive Director– David Beasley