More than 55 million people in seven countries are in desperate need of COVID-19-related famine relief. That is according to a new report from international charity Oxfam, entitled “Later will be too late.” The report details how 55.5 million people in seven countries — Yemen, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia — are living in severe-to-extreme levels of food insecurity or even famine conditions, thanks largely to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
In March, the United Nations called for $10.3 billion in emergency funding to deal with the worldwide humanitarian impact the pandemic was expected to bring. Unfortunately, it has received barely a quarter of what it has asked for from donors. Every sector, including gender-based violence (58 percent funded), protection (27 percent), health (27 percent), and water, sanitation and hygiene (17 percent) are chronically under-funded. But the worst underwritten parts of its coronavirus response plan are food security (11 percent) and nutrition (3 percent). Indeed, in 5 of the 7 countries noted, the UN has received nothing at all to deal with the crisis. Oxfam called the international community’s response “dangerously inadequate.”
“The Committee for World Food Security must raise the alarm at the UN that famine is imminent on its watch and not enough is yet being done to stop it. We need a fairer and more sustainable food system that supports small scale producers. Years of neglect mean that millions upon millions of people remain unnecessarily vulnerable to shocks like COVID, climate change and conflict,” said Oxfam’s International interim Executive Director, Chema Vera.
Official estimates suggest that around 1.1 million people have died from COVID-19 globally since its emergence in China late last year. While the United States has seen the most cases and deaths overall, it is now countries in the global south that are the most intense hotbeds of the virus, with Brazil, Mexico, and India right behind the U.S. There are currently over 800,000 active cases in India alone.
As nations all over the world have scrambled to take emergency action in the wake of COVID-19, businesses have been disrupted, supply lines cut and economies stunted. As a result of the mass unemployment, the number of food insecure people has greatly increased in many countries. In northern Nigeria, for instance, that number has increased to 8.7 million from 4.7 million three years ago. No one in Burkina Faso in 2017 fell into the food insecure category, however, that number has jumped to 3.3 million today, according to Oxfam. Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s food insecure population has rocketed from 7.7 million in 2017 to 21.8 million today.
Yemen was already considered the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” by the United Nations before the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks largely to the Saudi-led onslaught against the country. Over 20 million people are dependent on foreign food aid to survive. In April, the World Food Program warned that a “famine of biblical proportions” could be on the way in the country. And yet, following U.S. government pressure, aid to Yemen has sputtered to just $0.25 per person per day, nothing like what is needed to change the course of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo successfully pressured the international community to reduce its aid to the beleaguered nation in a bid to starve the country’s Houthi rebels of aid. As a result, Yemen may be reaching a humanitarian tipping point in the near future.
Partly because of the inaction, Oxfam has suggested that more people could die from COVID-19-linked hunger than of the virus itself, warning that up to 12,000 people could perish daily if more action is not taken. But even as the UN desperately begs for just $10 billion to avert a massive famine, food and beverage companies have paid out over $18 billion in dividends to shareholders between January and July, suggesting that a lack of funds is not the principal problem.
People in the United States, too, have had problems with food insecurity, although nothing like the severity of those in sub Saharan Africa or in Yemen. 56 million Americans were forced to use a food bank during the crisis, as tens of millions were left unemployed almost overnight. While Americans do not have to worry about a potential famine in their country, those in the African and Asian countries highlighted by the report are not as lucky.
Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, Common Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.
Lack of 'political will' to curb global hunger, German development minister says
Gerd Müller, Germany's Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, tells DW that an annual sum of $14 billion could put an end to world hunger – but that the political will around the globe to achieve that goal is lacking.
Gerd Müller told DW that a world without hunger would be possible if nations cooperated to pool an annual €14 billion. The comments follow UN calls to raise more funds to avoid pandemic-induced famine.
By Leah Carter - 13. October 2020
German minister: 'A world without hunger is possible'
The political will to provide the annual sum of €14 billion ($16.5 billion) to curb global hunger is lacking worldwide, according to German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller.
"A world without hunger is possible," Müller told DW's Melinda Crane. If industrialized countries cooperated to gather the necessary funds every year until 2030, they "could help 500 million people, perhaps even more, out of absolute poverty and save them from hunger."
"So why don't we do this? There is a lack of political will worldwide, because €14 billion is not an impossible global sum," he said.
Müller's comments followed calls made on the part of the UN World Food Program (WFP), to raise more money to avoid coronavirus-related famine. The WFP said on Tuesday that it will need to raise $6.8 billion (€5.8 billion) over the next six months to avert famine triggered by the pandemic.
The organization said it has so far raised $1.6 billion. David Beasley, the UN agency's executive director, said that 7 million people had died from hunger this year, as the pandemic claimed over a million lives across the globe. That number, he said, could rise even further due to the effects of the pandemic.
"If we don't sort out COVID, the hunger death rate could be 3, 4, 5 times that," said Beasley.
2020 Nobel Peace Prize comes with urgent appeal
Müller criticized the lack of financial support for curbing hunger, comparing the €14-billion figure to other global investments. "In this year alone, arms spending has increased by an additional €70 billion," he said.
Germany boosts food security investment
Germany is also investing more than a third of the Development Ministry's "total expenditure in food security," he said.
He added that the ministry is also investing further in decentralized energy supply, which he said will be used to support small farmers.
"What we're also doing is securing property rights and creating land registries. And we're also demanding equal access for women to land and property — and to loans too."
Global hunger was declining for several decades, but is now on the rise against since 2016, driven primarily by both conflict and climate change.
According to the Global Hunger Index, a tool that measures and tracks hunger globally, 37 countries will fail to even reach a low level of hunger by 2030.
That figure does not include countries for which data were insufficient to calculate the 2030 projections, and does not account for the impacts of COVID-19, "which may worsen hunger and undernutrition in the near term and affect countries' trajectories into the future."
World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize - means the Hunger Games are on!
This is NOT a drill: Countdown to mass FAMINE has begun, and people you know will starve and die
By: Mike Adams - 12. May 2021
(Natural News) The engineered mass famine in America is now under way, with the deep state sabotage of the Colonial Pipeline already causing trucking to suffer fuel shortages across Southeast states, impairing some food deliveries. If this pipeline is not fully restored in the next 72 hours or so, food shelves in some areas will go empty and panic will take hold across the populations there. Already, over a thousand gas stations have run out of gas, and people are so desperate to stock up on gasoline that the federal government had to issue a warning that tells people it’s unsafe to store gasoline in plastic bags. (Yes, people are pumping gas into plastic bags. Welcome to Third World America.)
Meanwhile, Michigan Governor Whitmer is attempting to close another pipeline that serves Northern states, demonstrating that pipeline shutdowns are part of an engineered collapse of America’s industrial infrastructure.
If this deliberate shutdown plan continues, many people will face famine this summer as America plunges into chaos and desperation. It’s all by design, of course, as the radical Marxists who stole the election are working their way through a checklist to destroy America from within.
As I discuss in today’s Situation Update podcast — which has a particularly doomsday ring to it — after experiencing the supply line shortages of 2020, anyone who isn’t yet a prepper in 2021 is essentially committing themselves to death. I ask the question, “How can everyone NOT be a prepper in 2021 after living through 2020?”
Yet, amazingly, the oblivious masses have zero preparedness and still think, “things will all go back to normal” real soon now, as soon as the vaccines save everybody.
Things will never “go back to normal” … you are living through a WAR being waged against the human race
What they don’t seem to realize is that America has already entered an era of hyperinflation and wholesale currency debasement. The dollar is headed for imminent collapse, meaning a total wipeout of all dollar-denominated assets, including bank deposits and pensions. With a financial collapse under way, the anti-American Marxists (Biden, Whitmer, Newsom, etc.) are tearing down America’s infrastructure, leading to engineered blackouts and grid down failures that you will see more clearly by Summer.
These assaults on America will complete the economic takedown of America, resulting in mass famine / starvation across the vaccine-damaged, zombified population of “oblivions.” Over the next four years, according to the now-defunct Deagel.com website, America’s population will be reduced to around 65 million survivors. Most will die of starvation and disease, augmented by lawless violence and chaos in the cities. The collapse has already begun.
In today’s Situation Update podcast, I express extreme sorrow in advance of the realization that those of us who wish to live are likely going to have to defend ourselves against the desperate, starving masses. While we do our best to help as many people as we can — and I have a plan in place to donate large amounts of food to local churches — in the end we will likely have to kill aggressors in self-defense or be killed ourselves.
As I explain, this is no longer a thought experiment. It’s not entertainment or “fear porn.” It’s the grim reality that we’ve been thrust into because the globalists who stole the election, built the bioweapons and control the media are pursuing a luciferian agenda to exterminate the human race. While I don’t think they will succeed, there’s little question they will kill hundreds of millions — perhaps even a billion — before they are stopped and defeated.
Those who wish to survive this need to mentally and spiritually prepare to live through Hell on Earth, where even the most prepared among us will be hard-pressed to survive the tsunami of violence, lawlessness and desperation that’s being unleashed against us by the day.
Mass death is coming to America. People you know and love will die. Some of those you thought were neighbors and friends will turn against you as extreme hunger kicks in, transforming once-civil people into famished marauders who will use violence to acquire any food they can find.
This is all very real. The doctors who mocked anti-vaxxers are now dying from the vaccines, and those oblivious masses who mocked preppers will soon be silenced, because many of them will be dead.
Even now, it is abundantly obvious that 95% of the American public has no clue whatsoever about what’s happening around them. They have zero supplies, zero knowledge, few skills and no awareness of reality. They will be the “low-hanging fruit” that globalists will be able to easily exterminate with little effort. And the farther away you can get from these oblivious masses, the better your own chances for survival.
You will also need to be very well armed, and highly proficient in the use of firearms for self-defense. I just checked online retailers, and 338 Lapua Magnum rounds are now $10 each. AR-15 rounds are about a dollar each, and I just paid $2 each for Controlled Chaos 7.62×39 rounds for one of my AK rifles. This means even practicing with a firearm now costs a small fortune.
Listen to this podcast if you want to live, and you’ll learn some important facts and skills that can help keep you alive:
UN: 155 Million People Worldwide Face Food Insecurity
05. May 2021
According to the UN World Food Programme, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and Yemen are the hardest-hit countries as armed conflict collides with hunger deepening the crisis in regions that rely on humanitarian assistance.
At least 155 million people worldwide need food urgently, the United Nations (UN) reported on Wednesday. The organization warned that 20 million more suffered famine in 2020 than in 2019, and these levels represent a five-year setback.
According to the UN World Food Programme, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and Yemen are the hardest-hit countries as armed conflict collides with hunger deepening the crisis in regions that rely on humanitarian assistance.
At least 155 million people faced crisis levels of food insecurity in 2020 - an increase of 20 million compared to 2019.— United Nations (@UN) May 5, 2021
Conflict, extreme weather & economic shocks related to #COVID19 are all contributing to staggering number of hungry people worldwide. https://t.co/Ot0xXwgsjj pic.twitter.com/Qu3mCUOZZO
Moreover, "around 133 000 people were classified in the most severe phase of acute food insecurity in 2020," the report highlights. In addition, 28 million people "were one step away from starvation across 38 countries" last year.
The study reveals that conflicts, economic shocks, and climate change are the fundamental problems triggering food insecurity. Africa is the most affected region globally, and Haiti, Syria, and Afghanistan are among the worse ten food crises in 2020.
PROLOGUE: The so-called 'Global NGO Network for Principled and Effective Humanitarian Action' is a group from the implementing relief sector, the closely knit so-called 'band-waggon' NGOs, which are in fact the sutlers of global disaster and hop from crisis to crisis like a swarm of locust. The new network is based in Switzerland - not far from several agency headquarters of the United Nations (UN) and the offices of the World Economic Forum (WEF). They are streamlined by the newly formed International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) but are clearly tied to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as well as to the World Food Programme (WFP/FAO), who mastermind their action plans and keep these business-minded so-called NGOs on their drip. Unfortunately for the deserving poor in the crisis zones, both these United Nations (UN) agencies spearhead and foster Agenda 21/30, which has a clear depopulation goal, are at the core of the planned Corona Crisis - instigated by the WEF and their global players - and usually do neither know nor meet the local needs. With this new NGO network the UN therefore only created an updated bunch of their own and always desperate servants and contractual implementers - old wine in new skins. What private groups like BLACKWATER (now defunct, first renamed Xe Services in 2009 and now known as Academi since 2011) are in the military-security sector for the USA, that are these 'NGO's in the field of relief work - mercenaries for the UN in a digitized and globalized world. They held now their first-ever Virtual Annual Conference on 18 March 2021 and came up with the ICVA - COVID-19 call to action on which the article below is based (RT with due diligence should actually know better). It is just a demand for money to be paid through the UN system to them. The real needs worldwide are probably also much higher and - as estimated earlier - have to cater now for at least 60-80 million people soon in order to overcome the corona crisis that was used to turn it into an economic crisis worldwide to cover the tracks of certain financial big-wigs speculating on the derivatives market, but here it is just the UN marketing plan for their own Hunger Games. Interestingly, the fact that the UN earlier on managed to only raise 5% of its food-security appeal from donors could be a good sign, if more bilateral aid comes forward and more direct relief work would be done in genuine cooperation between rich and the poor countries leading to a revival of true friendship between nations and their peoples. If that already given trend will expand and can finally fulfil the needs, still remains to be seen, but hopeful signs are here, which show that richer states take more direct responsibility in helping the poor and work directly with international and national civil society groups that have long-term experience on the ground in the different areas - without the voracious UN and their implementing band-waggon NGOs.
Covid pandemic puts 34 million ‘on the very edge of famine’: 250 NGOs demand international intervention
By RT - 20. April 2021
A Somali child from southern Somalia walks in front of makeshift shelters and destroyed building in Mogadishu, Somalia. © AP Photo / Farah Abdi Warsameh
A group of more than 250 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has warned that the world is “likely to face multiple famines” if governments do not act to tackle the “acute food insecurity situation” sparked by the Covid pandemic.
In an open letter, the Global NGO Network for Principled and Effective Humanitarian Action called on states and their leaders to ensure humanitarian access and step up financial aid to fight the causes of growing inequality, warning of the scale of the situation.
The group of NGOs declared that, in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Venezuela and Yemen, “every day, we bear witness to suffering and resilience,” putting at least 34 million individuals, including young children, “a step away from famine.”
Conflict, climate change and inequality, coupled with the Covid-19 crisis, have led to an acute food insecurity situation around the world.
Immediately, the open letter calls for an extra $5.5 billion in funding to bolster food assistance work in the regions of concern, “without diverting resources from meeting other pressing humanitarian needs.”
In the long term, the group demands greater work to end conflicts that destabilize regions, increase sustainability to protect against climate change, and work to rebound from the impact of the Covid pandemic.
This is not the first time that an international group has called for greater action on this front, with the UN having previously warned of a “famine of biblical proportions” if poorer nations are not given the support they need to combat and recover from Covid. In response to that call, the UN only managed to raise 5% of its food security appeal from donors.
The “Great Reset”: Will There be Food on the Table?
“Who Controls the Food Supply Controls the People”
By Julian Rose - 22. March 2021
This is to serve warning that what ‘the authorities’ are planning for us in the very near future is a ‘Great Reset’ of what we are accustomed to eating at our daily meals.
Under plans laid out by Klaus Schwab, executive director of the World Economic Forum, what food ‘is’ and how it is produced are to take a dramatic turn for the worse. From something broadly natural to something essentially synthetic.
Under the cold technocrat agenda know as ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and ‘Green New Deal’agriculture will have less and less to do with farmers cultivating the land and more and more to do with the laboratory production of synthetic foods by robots.
The great majority of mankind already carry traces of dozens of toxic synthetic chemicals in their bodies, with significant amounts of the carcinogenic herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) having been detected in more than 90% of the tens of thousands tested in Europe and the USA during recent years.
Right now in Holland, Israel and California entirely fake laboratory meat (‘cultured meat’) is commencing manufacture – using animal based cellular tissue; while nanoparticles are increasingly being adopted in the processing of many of the mass produced factory foods found on supermarket shelves today.
The GMO threat is also once again part of the plan, going under a new name: ‘gene editing’. These are foods that have been molecularly re-engineered to suit the profit motivated ambitions of the pesticide and pharmaceutical industries. Consuming them on a regular basis will irrevocably alter our own DNA to the point where ‘human’ will no longer fit the description of our species.
Most people are completely unaware of these so called ‘developments’. One of the excuses used for moving humanity onto a space-age laboratory engineered diet is that scientists in the pay of the global warming lobby say that dairy cows and beef cattle are causing climate change due to their natural flatulence negatively effecting the atmospheric methane balance.
This is at the extreme end of plausible, but only in the case of large scale factory farms on which cattle are fed entirely inappropriate diets.
This is the same bunch of ‘scientists’ who are warning that earthworms need controlling due to their supposed negative influence on the upper atmosphere.
Well, frankly, I would have thought that even the most dim members of the scientific community would have thought up something a little more credible for closing down conventional farming systems. But such is the insanity at large today that almost any theory backed by enough mass propaganda indoctrination seems capable of achieving its desired ends.
“Who controls the food supply controls the people.”
Food production coming under the jurisdiction of a centralised global cabal, is a very dangerous move. Already just six vast seed corporations own and control 80% of the world’s seed production and distribution.
Using Codex Alimentarius clauses of the World Trade Organisation governments have already been influenced to pass laws severely restricting the use of native seeds and a wide variety of fruit and vegetables once on sale in traditional grocery stores.
The population as a whole is now confronted by the despotic Green New Deal programme forcing its fake ‘zero carbon’ policy on humanity and weaponising it to be the vector for the digitalisation and re-engineering of the food chain, as described earlier.
The largely synthetic diet that emerges out of this sterilisation programme will free-up the land for what is termed ‘re-wilding’, the leisure pursuits of the wealthy and large scale US style robotic factory farming units.
What to do?
Here follows a list of immediate actions to take to ensure you don’t get caught-out and find yourself on a corporate/state controlled artificial GMO diet with no way out.
- Immediately cease relying on the supermarket/hypermarket for your main food purchases. They are global killers of small, diverse and animal friendly farms and of real food. They will be the first to comply with the cabal government controls.
- If you are not already living in the countryside or small town/village with direct links to the surrounding land, plan your move to such a location straight away. Big cities are saturated with electro magnetic microwaves, CCTV monitors, traffic polluted air and a great excess of sterile concrete. They can no longer support the health and welfare of sentient humans.
- Once in your countryside location, establish contact with a small or medium sized (SME) pro-ecological and/or traditional farmer and start making your food purchases ‘direct from the farm’ or via a food cooperative/independent small shop selling good quality fresh foods from local farms.
- Rent, share or buy a piece of land to start your own cultivation on. Make a plan to grow a percentage of your basic dietary needs on this land. Seek help from those who have experience, to get you started.
- Spend as much time as possible in/with nature. This is the antidote to the materialistic, mechanistic mind controlled world of urban dependency – the main target for the WEF’s fake Green New Deal programme of oppression and control.
- Learn the skills of gardening, medicinal herb growing and building natural good health. Particularly build-up your immune system to resist various diseases, minor sicknesses like a flu called Covid and major sicknesses like cancer and build into your daily routine a spiritual practice which puts you in touch with your deeper self and divine origins. This is going to be particularly important in protecting against dark entities and in opening your life to the vital pathway of full conscious awareness.
- Barter and share wherever possible. The cabal’s aim is to phase out bank notes and coinage by 2030 at the latest, making people fully dependent on plastic cards and digital nano-chips inserted under the skin. In both cases total 24/7 surveillance of all activities and direct access to your bank account will be the order of the day.
- Get involved with your local community. Help it become self governing. Share information (like this) with neighbours and leaders of local authorities. Build initiatives to get your community linked-up with neighbourhood farms and woodlands so that these resources can be used to support the needs of the local community.
- Make sure to retain a wood or coal burning stove/boiler and ‘human scale’ agricultural tools for cultivating the land. Learn the skills needed to work the land with horses. Petroleum and gas are likely to become ever harder to acquire for all but the 1%, who will retain access to supplies for heating cooking and transportation purposes. This is not because of a supply shortage – there is none – but because The Fourth Industrial Revolution/Green Deal is founded on ‘Green Fascism’, a ‘zero carbon’ policy that will starve the population of access to fossil fuels and force people into a slavish dependency on the state (cabal) and conformity with long planned global depopulation goals.
Lastly, let the Changes recommended here be seen as a positive. A welcome challenge for all concerned. A chance for ‘real life’ to replace the digitalised virtual reality existence of today. You will be bringing about a world in which nature and man can finally start to heal and return to a state of equilibrium.
Envision and meditate on this healed world now. Make your move the number one priority of your life and join those already building their arks. Arks destined to become the foundation stones of a simple, creative and just New Society.
Julian Rose is an early pioneer and practitioner of UK organic farming; an entrepreneur and leader of projects to create self sufficient communities based on local supply and demand; a teacher of holistic life approaches and the author of four books – one of which ‘Creative Solutions to a World in Crisis’ (https://www.amazon.com/Creative-Solutions-World-Crisis-Locality/dp/6197458217) lays-out detailed guide-lines for the transformation of society into caring communities built upon ecological and spiritual awareness, justice and cooperation. See Julian’s website for more information www.julianrose.info
Global poor hit as COVID-19 causes drop in remittances
Migrants often make international payments to support their families back home. Now these important transfers have declined dramatically amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
By Atrid Prange - 18. October 2020
Sunil N. is desperate. The polyglot tour guide from Sri Lanka used to show visitors from Germany and elsewhere around his island. But previous crises have hurt the tourist industry, and the coronavirus pandemic now means he has no source of income. "We are skipping meals," he told DW by email.
Sunil says the government has imposed another curfew, because the virus is spreading again, which means "we don't have money to buy groceries, we have become beggars." With Sri Lanka's tourist sector hit hard by the pandemic, Sunil and his family depend on money sent from friends abroad.
But that might be a problem, because according to World Bank spokesperson Alexandra Klopfer Hernandez, global remittances have dropped recently. "There was a sharp decrease in payments during April and May following the lockdown," she said. While a certain increase occurred in June and July, Hernandez remains pessimistic about the future: "We predict a further decline of remittances because of high global unemployment among migrants and the economic crisis."
As early as spring, the World Bank was projecting that the pandemic would cause a 20% drop in remittances. In 2019, remittances worth $554 billion (€473 billion) were transferred by migrants to their families back home — $133 billion of which was sent from Europe.
Millions of families depend on money sent from migrants
The Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (Knomad), which is co-financed by Germany's Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which has looked into the effects of a 20% remittance drop, pointed out that remittances exceed all foreign direct investment and development aid combined.
In a report, Knomad wrote that "the despair of those 800 million people who rely on these payments will grow; and the economic stability of many poorer countries is in jeopardy." Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain, Russia and Italy are the most important countries when it comes to remittances in Europe. According to Germany's central bank, maintenances have steadily increased over the past five years, growing from €3.5 billion to €5.4 billion.
But Marina Manke of the International Organization for Migration(IOM) says there are no reliable figures regarding the volume of international payments amid the pandemic. "We have neither up-date-date figures, nor figures on the effects of COVID-19," she said. So for now, the organization must rely on local surveys and estimates.
"Half of the Moldovan migrants we interviewed confirmed they no longer have an income, so they stopped sending money to their families back home," says Manke.
The financial reports of TransferWise, Western Union and MoneyGram — service providers which facilitate remittances — reveal a sharp drop in international payments. Western Union reported a 17% revenue drop in its second financial quarter compared to the same period last year, while MoneyGram reported a 13% decline between April and June.
Experts are now calling on these and other financial service providers to lower their fees so that migrants can do more to support their loved ones back home.
Call to lower fees
Currently, remittance fees range from between 3% and 7% per payment, which means that when $554 billion in remittances were paid last year, financial service providers earned between $16 and $38 billion — a considerable sum of money that could be used to improve the lives of poor families, and give a boost to developing economies.
Digital technologies have increased the pressure on these financial service providers, who have begun investing in digital payment platforms. Various websites now also provide a transparent overview of which fees are charged by what company, one of which is Geldtransfair, a platform supported by the BMZ.
Sunil N., meanwhile, would benefit tremendously if fees were lowered. Colombo airport has been shut to international visitors since March 2019, with tourism taking a major hit.
"Our country is closed," he says, before adding ruefully: "We do not even have money for masks — it is difficult to survive "
Coronavirus pushes 150 million more children into poverty, study reveals
The world's poorest children are getting even poorer, according to UNICEF and Save the Children. And they warn that the situation could get a lot worse in the coming months.
By Alex Berry - 17. September 2020
The coronavirus crisis has plunged 150 million more children into poverty according to an analysis published by UNICEF and Save The Children on Thursday.
The number of children living in poverty in low and middle-income countries increased by 15% to 1.2 billion during the corona pandemic and the subsequent lockdown measures.
The report calculated this number based on several deprivation indicators such as access to education, healthcare and housing.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director, explained the importance of the report's results saying, "families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before.
"Most concerningly, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end," she added.
What needs to be done to alleviate the problem?
The report urged governments to take action in order to lift these children out of poverty. The authors recommend interventions and investments in areas such as social services, labor markets and remote education.
"Governments must prioritize the most marginalized children and their families through rapid expansion of social protection systems including cash transfers and child benefits, remote learning opportunities, healthcare services and school feeding," Fore implored.
"Making these critical investments now can help countries to prepare for future shocks."
The report emphasized the need to understand deprivation beyond simple financial indicators, although these play a big role. It stresses the importance of implementing "multi-sectoral policies addressing health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and housing deprivations."
"This pandemic has already caused the biggest global education emergency in history, and the increase in poverty will make it very hard for the most vulnerable children and their families to make up for the loss", said Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children.
"Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labour or early marriage and be trapped in a cycle of poverty for years to come," she warned.
dpa contributed to this report
Covid-19 Fuels Fears of Global Hunger
"Before coronavirus, we already had a situation that was more or less difficult." The Covid-19 pandemic is pushing vulnerable populations over the edge. Virus-linked hunger is tied to 10,000 child deaths each month, according to the United Nations.
•Jul 28, 2020
In poor regions of the world, the new coronavirus is temporarily masking another problem: hunger.
All around the world, the coronavirus and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, cutting off meager farms from markets and isolating villages from food and medical aid.
Virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children a month over the first year of the pandemic, according to an urgent call to action from the United Nations.
Further, more than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, according to the U.N. — malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies. Over a year, that’s up 6.7 million from last year’s total of 47 million. Wasting and stunting can permanently damage children physically and mentally, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe.
“The food security effects of the Covid crisis are going to reflect many years from now,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, the World Health Organization head of nutrition. “There is going to be a societal effect.”
Dr. Coumbo Boly, a pediatrician at Yalgado Ouedraogo University Hospital in the capital of the West African nation of Burkina Faso, fears an oncoming tidal wave of hunger. "We are expecting the number of malnourished to multiply by two, three, or even five times around November/December, when it's usually the harvest season," she said. "But he who hasn't sowed cannot harvest." In some places, malnutrition is already on the rise.
Four hours to the south west, in Tuy region, month old Haboue Solange Boue has already lost half her body weight. Her mother is too malnourished to produce milk. Underweight births are reportedly up 40 percent in Tuy, one of the country's leading grain producing areas. In countries already wracked by war and famine, economic collapse brought on by the coronavirus has piled woe upon woe.
The United Nations says undernourished children are dying at a rate of about 10,000 a month around the world. The number of children struck by wasting disease is up nearly 7 million from last year.
David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN's World Food Program, recently told the world body's Security Council that the globe is on the brink of a hunger pandemic. "There are no famines yet," he said. "But I must warn you that if we don't prepare and act now to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade, we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months."
In Afghanistan. transport lockdowns and coronavirus fear have meant fewer children travelling from the provinces to paediatric hospitals, like the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital in the capital Kabul. "We had 30 to 40 malnourished children last year, sometimes we were putting two children in one bed," said Dr. Nematullah Amir. "We have 14 malnourished children now." Burkina Faso was already facing a growing food crisis before coronavirus spread across the country.
An Islamist insurgency has cut families off from their farms and forced nearly a million people from their homes. Aminata Mande's 14-year-old daughter, Nafissetou Niampa, could hardly hold her head up during a recent visit to the university hospital. "During the disease, my child couldn't go to the market to buy food, and we suffered because of the disease," Mande said. "Before the disease, we didn't have anything. And now with the disease we don't have anything also."Hassan Maiyaki, Burkina Faso chief of mission for Doctors Without Borders, said aid groups are rushing to prepare for the worst. "It's quite worrying, and it requires a lot of vigilance and attention," he said. Dr. Boly is bracing not only for more cases of malnutrition, but more severe ones. "Before coronavirus, we already had a situation that was more or less difficult," she said.
As more go hungry and malnutrition persists, achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 in doubt, UN report warns
Securing healthy diets for the billions who cannot afford them would save trillions in costs
By WHO - 13. July 2020 (N.B.: feeding only the UN narrative to strengthen WFP)
Open-air market in Moscow / Russia - where thanks to the wise governmental policy the citizens are protected from GMOs and most western pesticides on their food. Credits © WHO / Sergey Volkov
Rome – More people are going hungry, an annual study by the United Nations has found. Tens of millions have joined the ranks of the chronically undernourished over the past five years, and countries around the world continue to struggle with multiple forms of malnutrition.
The latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, published today, estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. High costs and low affordability also mean billions cannot eat healthily or nutritiously. The hungry are most numerous in Asia but expanding fastest in Africa. Across the planet, the report forecasts, the COVID-19 pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020. (Flare-ups of acute hunger in the pandemic context may see this number escalate further at times.)
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is the most authoritative global study tracking progress towards ending hunger and malnutrition. It is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Writing in the foreword, the heads of the five agencies warn that “five years after the world committed to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition, we are still off-track to achieve this objective by 2030".
The hunger numbers explained
In this edition, critical data updates for China and other populous countriesii have led to a substantial cut in estimates of the global number of hungry people, to the current 690 million. Nevertheless, there has been no change in the trend. Revising the entire hunger series back to the year 2000 yields the same conclusion: after steadily diminishing for decades, chronic hunger slowly began to rise in 2014 and continues to do so.
Asia remains home to the greatest number of undernourished (381 million). Africa is second (250 million), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (48 million). The global prevalence of undernourishment – or overall percentage of hungry people – has changed little at 8.9 percent, but the absolute numbers have been rising since 2014. This means that over the last five years, hunger has grown in step with the global population.
This, in turn, hides great regional disparities: in percentage terms, Africa is the hardest hit region and becoming more so, with 19.1 percent of its people undernourished. This is more than double the rate in Asia (8.3 percent) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (7.4 percent). On current trends, by 2030, Africa will be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry.
The pandemic’s toll
As progress in fighting hunger stalls, the COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems – understood as all the activities and processes affecting the production, distribution and consumption of food. While it is too soon to assess the full impact of the lockdowns and other containment measures, the report estimates that at a minimum, another 83 million people, and possibly as many as 132 million, may go hungry in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by COVID-19.iii The setback throws into further doubt the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger).
Unhealthy diets, food insecurity and malnutrition
Overcoming hunger and malnutrition in all its forms (including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity) is about more than securing enough food to survive: what people eat – and especially what children eat – must also be nutritious. Yet a key obstacle is the high cost of nutritious foods and the low affordability of healthy diets for vast numbers of families.
The report presents evidence that a healthy diet costs far more than US$ 1.90/day, the international poverty threshold. It puts the price of even the least expensive healthy diet at five times the price of filling stomachs with starch only. Nutrient-rich dairy, fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods (plant and animal-sourced) are the most expensive food groups globally.
The latest estimates are that a staggering 3 billion people or more cannot afford a healthy diet. In sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, this is the case for 57 percent of the population – though no region, including North America and Europe, is spared. Partly as a result, the race to end malnutrition appears compromised. According to the report, in 2019, between a quarter and a third of children under five (191 million) were stunted or wasted – too short or too thin. Another 38 million under-fives were overweight. Among adults, meanwhile, obesity has become a global pandemic in its own right.
A call to action
The report argues that once sustainability considerations are factored in, a global switch to healthy diets would help check the backslide into hunger while delivering enormous savings. It calculates that such a shift would allow the health costs associated with unhealthy diets, estimated to reach US$ 1.3 trillion a year in 2030, to be almost entirely offset; while the diet-related social cost of greenhouse gas emissions, estimated at US$ 1.7 trillion, could be cut by up to three-quarters.iv The report urges a transformation of food systems to reduce the cost of nutritious foods and increase the affordability of healthy diets. While the specific solutions will differ from country to country, and even within them, the overall answers lie with interventions along the entire food supply chain, in the food environment, and in the political economy that shapes trade, public expenditure and investment policies. The study calls on governments to mainstream nutrition in their approaches to agriculture; work to cut cost-escalating factors in the production, storage, transport, distribution and marketing of food – including by reducing inefficiencies and food loss and waste; support local small-scale producers to grow and sell more nutritious foods, and secure their access to markets; prioritize children’s nutrition as the category in greatest need; foster behaviour change through education and communication; and embed nutrition in national social protection systems and investment strategies.
The heads of the five UN agencies behind the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World declare their commitment to support this momentous shift, ensuring that it unfolds “in a sustainable way, for people and the planet.”
The Spin-doctors on this story:
Media contacts for interview requests (several languages are covered):
FAO – Andre VORNIC, +39 345 870 6985,
IFAD – Antonia PARADELA, +34 605 398 109,
UNICEF – Sabrina SIDHU, +1 917 476 1537,
WFP – Martin PENNER, +39 345 614 2074,
WHO – Fadela CHAIB, +41 79 475 5556,
i For FAO – Qu Dongyu, Director-General; for IFAD – Gilbert F. Houngbo, President; for UNICEF – Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director; for WFP – David Beasley, Executive Director; for WHO – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General.
ii Updates to a key parameter, which measures inequality in food consumption within societies, have been made for 13 countries whose combined population approaches 2.5 billion people: Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Sudan and Thailand. The size of China’s population, in particular, has had the single largest impact on global numbers.
iii This range corresponds to the most recent expectations of a 4.9 to 10 percent drop in global GDP.
iv The report analyses the “hidden costs” of unhealthy diets and models options involving four alternative diets: flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan. It also acknowledges that some poorer countries’ carbon emissions may initially need to rise to allow them to reach nutrition targets. (The opposite is true of richer countries.)
Rising hunger threatens famines as coronavirus crashes economies, leaves crops to rot in fields
By Ajit Niranjan - 11. June 2020
The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push tens of millions of people into deeper poverty — and hunger. Across parts of Africa and Asia, starvation could be deadlier than the disease itself.
Recessions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are leaving people hungry and raising the specter of famines this year. Unless the world acts immediately, a UN report published this week says, it could spell a global food emergency of a "severity and scale unseen for more than half a century."
Although there is enough food to feed the world, not everybody can afford to buy it. In regions like East Africa — already fighting off locust swarms and weather extremes — widespread job losses could spiral into famine, said Maximo Torero, chief economist at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. "It's a terrible problem of food access."
Lockdowns at the start of the pandemic sent shock waves through the global food system, resulting in millions of tons of crops left to rot in fields as countries closed borders and farmers stayed home. While global food supplies are now stable, supply chains in some countries have still not recovered.
But, with lockdowns easing, a bigger crisis is growing clearer: the economic fallout from the pandemic could push tens of millions of people into deeper poverty — and hunger.
Food is plentiful but lockdowns are reducing access
Supermarket shelves were emptied in many countries at the start of the pandemic
The global economy is set to shrink by about 3% this year, according to the IMF, and remittances — the money workers send home to their families from abroad — have dropped by about 20%, according to the World Bank. Because rich countries have been hit harder by the pandemic, experts worry funding that could avert food crises in poorer countries may fall short. Countries across Africa and parts of Asia will struggle more to finance stimulus packages to kick-start their economies.
The global financial crash in 2008 is "nothing compared to what we are facing today," said Torero. "All the world is in recession, so the shock will be brutal."
The meat industry has been a hotspot of coronavirus outbreaks
Climate change is exacerbating food insecurity in many countries
Fragile food systems
The World Food Program estimated in April that world hunger will double this year, bringing the total to 265 million people — more than 3 in every 100 humans on the planet. Most of those suffering from acute food insecurity live in countries reeling from conflict, climate change and economic crises. In total, 821 million people are going hungry in some form.
The global food system was fragile even before the pandemic. Just nine plant species account for more than two-thirds of global crop output and they are increasingly threatened by soil erosion, rising temperatures, extreme weather and disease. The ten countries with the worst food crises last year —Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti — all struggle with conflict and political unrest.
Like climate change, the pandemic makes a "perilous situation worse" by multiplying other threats, said Asaf Tzachor, a food security expert at Cambridge University's Center for the Study of Existential Risks. In several countries, "these converging crises may cripple food systems."
Pacific island states, for instance, rely on tourism for up to 70% of national income and spend billions of dollars importing food. Travel restrictions that grounded flights have wrecked tourism and made some imports scarce.
India, which is the world's biggest exporter of rice, milk and pulses, has been hit by droughts and floods, and soil erosion is eating away the fertility of 7.5% of the country's land. Now facing the worst locust swarms it has seen in 30 years, it has also seen supply chains disrupted by the pandemic, though efforts to connect farmers directly to customers may be helping to reduce food waste.
A second wave of locusts is striking East Africa and has also spread into south Asia
Pesticides to fight off locusts have also left them unfit to eat
In most of Africa, people are more likely to die from starvation caused by the economic fallout from the pandemic than from the disease itself, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development. More than half of Africans are smallholder farmers and agriculture is a central pillar of economies across the continent.
People working in the informal economy — thought to account for more than one-third of sub-Saharan Africa's GDP – are particularly vulnerable because they do not have access to safety nets, said Wanjira Mathai, Regional Director for Africa at the World Resources Institute. "Those at the margins of poverty, for whom these shocks have plunged into greater states of poverty … those are the people who we worry a lot about."
In East Africa, where desert locusts have ravaged land and razed crops, farmers have endured a succession of shocks that leave them less able to cope.
The FAO says that 13 million people in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea have either run out of food altogether or go a full day at a time without eating. The devastation has left these countries more dependent on imports — and more vulnerable to travel disruptions from lockdowns. "Some farmers are crying," said Ara Nashera, an organic farmer near Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya. Hungry for credit, "others are smiling to the banks."
Even if the extremes of famine are averted, many more people will still be living on the edge. That will force people to sell belongings, reduce the quality of meals and stop sending their kids to school just to "keep food on the table," said Susanna Sandstrom, an economist at the UN's World Food Program. "There would be people who have to beg, and use risky coping strategies, to meet their food needs."
How COVID-19 Could Worsen Global Food Insecurity
While COVID-19 is dominating headlines, another kind of emergency is threatening the lives of millions of people around the world—food insecurity.
The two are very much intertwined, however. By the end of 2020, authorities estimate that upwards of 265 million people could be on the brink of starvation globally, almost double the current rate of crisis-level food insecurity.
Today’s visualizations use data from the fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2020) to demonstrate the growing scale of the current situation, as well as its intense concentration in just 55 countries around the globe.
The report looks at the prevalence of acute food insecurity, which has severe impacts on lives, livelihoods, or both. How does the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) classify the different phases of acute food insecurity?
- Phase 1: Minimal/None
- Phase 2: Stressed
- Phase 3: Crisis
- Phase 4: Emergency
- Phase 5: Catastrophe/Famine
According to the IPC, urgent action must be taken to mitigate these effects from Phase 3 onwards. Already, 135 million people experience critical food insecurity (Phase 3 or higher). Here’s how that breaks down by country:
|Country/ Territory||Total Population Analyzed (Millions)||Population in Crisis (Phase 3+, Millions)||Share of Analyzed Population in Crisis|
(24 communes in 3 provinces)
(Cox's Bazar and host populations)
|Central African Republic¹
|Total populations||825.1 million||134.99 million|
Showing 1 to 11 of 55 entries
Source: GRFC 2020, Table 5 – Peak numbers of acutely food-insecure people in countries with food crises, 2019
¹ Include populations classified in Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4)
² Include populations classified in Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) and in Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5)
While starvation is a pressing global issue even at the best of times, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to almost double these numbers by an additional 130 million people—a total of 265 millionby the end of 2020.
To put that into perspective, that’s roughly equal to the population of every city and town in the United States combined.
A Continent in Crisis
Food insecurity impacts populations around the world, but Africa faces bigger hurdles than any other continent. The below map provides a deeper dive:
Over half of populations analyzed by the report – 73 million people – are found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Main drivers of acute food insecurity found all over the continent include:
Examples: Interstate conflicts, internal violence, regional/global instability, or political crises.
In many instances, these result in people being displaced as refugees.
- Weather extremes
Examples: Droughts and floods
- Economic shocks
Macroeconomic examples: Hyperinflation and currency depreciation
Microeconomic examples: Rising food prices, reduced purchasing power
Examples: Desert locusts, armyworms
- Health shocks
Examples: Disease outbreaks, which can be worsened by poor quality of water, sanitation, or air
A major side-effect of conflict, food insecurity, and weather shocks.
One severely impacted country is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 15 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity. DRC’s eastern region is experiencing intense armed conflict, and as of March 2020, the country is also at high risk of Ebola re-emergence.
Meanwhile, in Eastern Africa, a new generation of locusts has descended on croplands, wiping out vital food supplies for millions of people. Weather conditions have pushed this growing swarm of trillions of locusts into countries that aren’t normally accustomed to dealing with the pest. Swarms have the potential to grow exponentially in just a few months, so this could continue to cause big problems in the region in 2020.
Insecurity in Middle East and Asia
In the Middle East, 43 million more people are dealing with similar challenges. Yemen is the most food-insecure country in the world, with 15.9 million (53% of its analyzed population) in crisis. It’s also the only area where food insecurity is at a Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5) level, a result of almost three years of civil war.
Another troubled spot in the Middle East is Afghanistan, where 11.3 million people find themselves in a critical state of acute food insecurity. Over 138,000 refugees returned to the country from Iran and Pakistan between January-March 2020, putting a strain on food resources.
Over half (51%) of the analyzed population of Pakistan also faces acute food insecurity, the highest in all of Asia. These numbers have been worsened by extreme weather conditions such as below-average monsoon rains.
An Incomplete Analysis
As COVID-19 deteriorates economic conditions, it could also result in funding cuts to major humanitarian organizations. Upwards of 300,000people could die every day if this happens, according to the World Food Program’s executive director.
The GRFC report also warns that these projections are still inadequate, due to major data gaps and ongoing challenges. 16 countries, such as Iran or the Philippines have not been included in the analysis due to insufficient data available.
More work needs to be done to understand the true severity of global food insecurity, but what is clear is that an ongoing pandemic will not do these regions any favors. By the time the dust settles, the food insecurity problem could be compounded significantly.
Villagers fetch gunny bags containing food rations in Ayod county, South Sudan, where World Food Programme carried out a food drop of grain and supplementary aid on February 6, 2020. Tony Karumba | AFP | Getty Images
Famines of “biblical proportions” are becoming a serious risk as the coronavirus crisis threatens to double the number of people nearing starvation, a U.N. body has warned.
In projections released Tuesday, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) predicted that the number of people facing “acute food insecurity” stood to rise to 265 million by the end of this year, up from 135 million in 2019.
That would mean an additional 130 million people were “living on the edge of starvation,” largely due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, with wages, supply chains and humanitarian aid under pressure as a result of the outbreak.
The International Monetary Fund warned last week that the global economy was likely to experience the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, predicting global growth would contract by 3% this year because of the virus.
Addressing the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said the world was facing “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two.”
“At the same time as dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are on the brink of a hunger pandemic,” he said.
Beasley noted that the WFP currently offers food assistance to almost 100 million people, but warned that the coronavirus could make it difficult for them to be reached and urged the U.N. to provide more assistance.
Twenty million people are at risk of starvation in Africa, COO of Care USA
“If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period,” he said during a video conference. “This does not include the increase of starvation due to Covid-19.”
Beasley requested $350 million in new funding to establish a network of logistics hubs that could keep global humanitarian supply chains moving. He also urged all those involved in conflict to provide “swift and unimpeded” humanitarian access to vulnerable communities.
“I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade — we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months,” he said.
Last year, 10 countries impacted by conflict, economic crises and climate change were identified as most at risk of acute food shortages, with Yemen, Venezuela, South Sudan and Nigeria named as some of the worst-affected nations.
In 2020, Yemen was likely to suffer the world’s worst food crisis, the WFP said, as a result of conflict, a macroeconomic crisis, pests and climate shocks.
Meanwhile, severe locust swarms across East Africa would “aggravate acute food insecurity” in the region, the report said.
Arif Husain, WFP’s Senior Economist, said in a statement on Tuesday that the coronavirus crisis could be “catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread.”
“It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat if they earn a wage,” he added. “Lockdowns and global economic recession have already decimated their nest eggs. It only takes one more shock — like Covid-19 — to push them over the edge.”
The coronavirus crisis has raised serious concerns over the health of the millions worldwide who are homeless. Photograph: Md Manik/SOPA Images
The warning from the World Food Programme (WFP) that 265 million people could be pushed into acute food insecurity by Covid-19, almost doubling last year’s total, is based on a complex combination of factors.
WFP’s latest warning underlines the increasing concern among experts in the field that for many the biggest impact will not be the disease, but the hunger hanging off its coat tails.
While the majority of people suffering acute food insecurity in 2019 lived in countries affected by conflict (77 million), climate change (34 million) and economic crises (24 million people), the coronavirus has massively complicated existing crises and threatens to worsen others.
WFP sounded the alarm in concert with a report from the Global Network Against Food Crises – an international alliance working to address the root causes of extreme hunger – that disclosed that as 2019 ended, 135 million people across 55 countries and territories experienced the highest levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition documented by the network since the first edition of the report in 2017.
The report identified a number of factors that could worsen food security in many of the 55 countries, classifying those dependent on food imports and oil exports (the price of oil collapsed to below zero this week) as particularly vulnerable, as well as those dependent and on tourism and remittances for income.
“Rising unemployment and under-employment and decreasing purchasing power will have serious consequences for poor and vulnerable populations in countries already dealing with crises such as conflict and/or ongoing economic and political turmoil,” the report said.
“Displaced people living in camps and displaced/host populations in urban settings as well as the elderly, young children, pregnant and lactating women, and the disabled are particularly vulnerable to the far-reaching impacts of this disease.”
In Yemen, as Mark Lowcock, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator, told the Guardian earlier this week, UN agencies were already feeding 13 million people, amid a funding crisis that is threatening to many people before the impact of coronavirus is even taken into consideration.
As WFP’s chief economist Arif Husain warned, “Covid-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread. It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat if they earn a wage. Lockdowns and global economic recession have already decimated their nest eggs. It only takes one more shock – like Covid-19 – to push them over the edge. We must collectively act now to mitigate the impact of this global catastrophe.”
The new warning reinforces concern sounded by Lola Castro, regional director of WFP for southern Africa, last month. She said the interruption of food programmes for millions of people in the 12 countries that they cover, which have experienced three years of poor harvests because of drought, would have a “critical impact”.
As Castro and other experts have made clear, what is occurring as coronavirus begins to bear down on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries is a perfect storm that has seen coronavirus act as an accelerant on a host of well established problems from poverty, the impact of the climate crisis, pre-existing conflict and pre-existing health crises in places with high incidence of diseases like Aids and HIV and malaria.
Perhaps most pressing, beyond the immediate threat of the disease, is the economic impact in countries less able to deal with the shock, particularly for workers on daily subsistence wages.
Talking about the situation in southern Africa in an interview with the Guardian last month, Castro described the specific challenges in detail.
“The lean season has been very, very hard for the last three years with almost no rain and poor harvests which have left 45 million people food insecure with 8.1 million supported by the WFP.”
Already, as Castro points out, new restrictions on travel, border crossing and the threat of the disease has disrupted ongoing operations even as more people have been pushed towards poverty by lockdowns affecting their ability to work.
“We are already the region of the world that is the most affected by HIV-Aids. We are having to totally change our distribution models: to reduce concentrations of people at distribution points; to make sure we have hand washing facilities and that people have PPE.
“Then we have to defeat borders, airlines closing, ports becoming affected, shipping and transport … we are fighting a humungous number of factors today.”
Other issues have been less visible, but are no less critical, not least any impact on southern Africa’s infrastructure for food supplies which depends on a few keys ports including Durban in South Africa and Beira in Mozambique.
And as Andrew Shepherd of the UK’s Overseas Development Institute explains, the economic impact of coronavirus on the poorest will be felt most sharply.
“Any food price inflation that is a result of coronavirus will be worst for those who are poorest, especially those who depend on daily wages. One of the impacts of the border closures that we’ve seen is that lots of poor people living along borders subsist on cross-border trading.”
REMEMBER THE FALSE PROMISES AND FAKE AGREEMENTS
World leaders sign global agreement to help beat hunger
Governments, businesses and charities make a historic pledge to end undernutrition in our lifetime at today's Nutrition for Growth event
Published 8 June 2013 - Last updated 14 October 2013
- Department for International Development, Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street, The Rt Hon David Cameron, and The Rt Hon Justine Greening
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
World leaders have today signed a global agreement that will prevent millions of infant deaths, and boost the life chances of millions more, by equipping the developing world with the means to beat malnutrition.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation president Jamie Cooper-Hohn led a high level summit in London of developing and developed nations, businesses, scientific and civil society groups, committing them to supporting a historic reduction in “undernutrition”.
Undernutrition is a chronic lack of nutrients that can result in death, stunted physical development and in a lower resistance to illnesses in later life. It is the biggest underlying cause of death in under-five-year-olds in the world and is responsible for 8,000 child deaths each day. It stunts the growth of children, reducing their potential, undermining their adult earnings by up to 10%, and in some countries reducing the size of the economy by 11% as a result.
The participants - who signed a Global Nutrition for Growth Compact - committed their countries and organisations by 2020 to:
- improving the nutrition of 500 million pregnant women and young children
- reducing the number of children under five who are stunted by an additional 20 million
- saving the lives of at least 1.7 million children by preventing stunting, increasing breastfeeding and better treatment of severe and acute malnutrition
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Among the participants in today’s central London summit were two presidents and four prime ministers from Africa, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, philanthropist Bill Gates, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annanand Unilever chief executive Paul Polman.
Donors have today secured new commitments of up to £2.7 billion ($4.15 billion) to tackle undernutrition up to 2020, £1.9 billion ($2.9 billion) of which is core funding with the remainder secured through matched funding. The UK has today committed an additional £375 million of core funding and £280 million of matched funding from 2013 to 2020.
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Countries which have previously increased nutrition funding, like the US and Canada, today committed themselves to continuing those high levels of funding while others, like the European Union, the World Bank and Ireland, have increased their support substantially.
The funds will focus on:
- making world-class scientific knowledge and evidence available, including through a new Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, so that farmers can grow nutrition-rich and resilient crops, such as vitamin-enriched sweet potato and corn, to feed their families and local areas
- promoting breastfeeding as a priority for protecting nutrition and saving lives
- supporting the governments of developing countries to formulate high quality national nutrition plans and helping them to mobilise domestic resources for them and
- ensuring businesses in developing countries place good nutrition at the heart of their workforce welfare priorities.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
Undernutrition is stopping children and countries from reaching their full potential, accounting for the loss of billions of dollars in productivity. A strong and healthy workforce is vital if a country’s economy is to prosper. This means business and science taking a lead in fighting for good nutrition because we understand that better nutrition is the smart way to tackle extreme poverty, child mortality and economic underachievement.
The commitments secured today will help transform the life chances of millions of children and pregnant women by ensuring they get the right nutrition at the right time, securing greater long-term economic growth and prosperity for all.
President and CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) Jamie Cooper-Hohn said:
We have a unique window of opportunity now to marshal the global coalescence around the nutrition agenda and to tackle the root cause of child mortality and economic underachievement. With renewed commitment from all of us in recognition of the centrality of nutrition to economic growth and development we will be making one of the most important contributions to the growth and economic development of some of the poorest countries in the world.
Today marks the start of a sustained financial and political commitment to ending undernutrition within a generation. Working together, this unique coalition can take action which history will judge as having contributed to saving the lives of millions of women and children and setting nations on a strong economic path to prosperity.
Undernutrition is an underlying cause in 45% of deaths amongst children under five, while nearly 165 million suffer from stunting which stops children’s bodies from developing properly. The effects of undernutrition have the greatest impact in the first 1,000 days of life from conception to a child’s second birthday. Failure to get the right nutrition at this critical time causes irreversible lifelong damage.
Nutrition for Growth builds on the process started at last year’s Hunger Summit held by the UK and Brazilian Governments in London, which highlighted the devastating consequences of undernutrition on children.
The World Health Assembly recently agreed a new global target of a 40% reduction in the number of stunted children by 2025. The commitments secured today will transform progress towards this goal. Commitments made today will be monitored and tracked annually, and progress made in addressing undernutrition will be measured at a global event in Brazil at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Related government links
- News: UK hosts high-level meeting on global nutrition and growth
- Press release: Nigeria, Benin and Malawi join New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
- Find out how the UK is working to reduce hunger and undernutrition
More around the web
- BBC News: Aid spending makes Prime Minister ‘proud to be British’
- The Guardian: London hunger summit yields $4bn commitment on child malnutrition
- ITV News: Hunger leads to ‘loss of billions in productivity’