Coronavirus likely to double number of people facing acute hunger: UN

The COVID-19 pandemic may nearly double the number of people facing acute hunger around the world, said the UN’s World Food Programme.

“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, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19,” warned the WFP in its projections.

The warning came as the WFP and other partners unveiled a new report on food crises around the world.

The fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises revealed that the food insecurity had already inflated last year before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency found that 135 million people in 55 countries were inhabiting in situations of acute food crises or outright humanitarian emergencies in the previous year.

The increase by more than 20 million people makes it exceptionally high in the four years the report has been compiled.

After comparing the 50 countries this year and last year, the report came to the conclusion that the number of people in food crisis rose by nearly 10 percent to 123 million people.

The rise was caused due to conflicts, economic shocks and weather-related events such as drought.

The report revealed that another 183 million were at the risk of slipping into food crisis “if confronted by an additional shock or stressor”.

“COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread,” the WFP”s Senior Economist Arif Husain said in a statement.

“We must collectively act now to mitigate the impact of this global catastrophe,” he added. The report is compiled and published annually by a number of groups and aid organisations.

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