The World Food Programme (WFP), an agency of the United Nations, has said it needs $5 billion in emergency funds within the next six months to help thwart global famine. The agency said that fund request is occasioned by the rise in the number of food-insecure people which has risen from 140 million before the coronavirus crisis to 270 million by year ending, according to the WFP’s forecast.
David Beasley, director of WFP, revealed that the dramatic increase in the number of individuals without the means to feed themselves as a result of supply chain breakdowns, depressionary unemployment, and crop failures will affect long-term economic injury that could prevent a vibrant economic recovery.
“While virus cases and deaths dominate headlines, other humanitarian crises also need attention, that is, an emerging “famine of biblical proportions” that threatens much of the world. All the data we have, including WFP’s forecast of an 80% increase in the number of food-insecure people – from 140 million before the pandemic to 270 million by the end of this year – points to a real catastrophe, a famine of biblical proportions,” he said.
The World Food Programme projections revealed a significant rise in the number of malnourished people in Latin America, Eastern and Central Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa had a doubling-up of the number of people that will go hungry in a short period.
According to Beasley, “world hunger is already sky-high, and if no immediate action, many will die, children will suffer the consequences of undernourishment for many years to come, and the whole world will be thrown back, having lost all the gains in the fight against hunger of the last decade. The famine will be incredibly high; we need to act quickly and wisely, balancing immediate relief and long-term recovery.”
Beasley further revealed that as a result of the looming food crisis, social tensions will obviously escalate, migration will be on the increase, conflicts will expand, and hunger might affect those without a hunger experience before.
Meanwhile, in the United States, a developed world economy, citizens in their tens of millions have gone hungry, relying on government aid and food banks for continued existence. The WFP Director also noted that countries in the 2008 financial crisis with a “stronger social protection system” were less impacted by famine.
He added: “WFP’s mission is to provide food to 138 million people in 2020, the largest humanitarian operation in history. And this unprecedented crisis requires an incredible amount of money.”
However, in a separate food insecurity report from June, Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, warned that the world is on the verge of the worst food crisis ever seen in the post-World War II era.