Global famine imminent

The UN warned on 21 April that the world faces a famine of ‘biblical proportions’ over Covid-19 pandemic.

Urgent and immediate action is needed to prevent widespread famine as the pandemic worsens existing world food crises, said the head of the United Nations World Food Pro-gramme (WFP).

David Beasley, Executive Director of the WFP, told a virtual session of the UN Security Council that at least 265 million people are being pushed to the brink of starvation by the Covid-19 crisis. This is double the number under threat before the pandemic took hold.

‘We are not talking about people going to bed hungry. We are talking about extreme conditions, emergency status – people literally [on] the brink of starvation. If we don’t get food to people, people will die,’ Beasley warned.

In 2020, the world is already facing the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War due to a number of factors including the wars in Syria and Yemen, and extensive terror activity across the central Sahel countries (see map), causing tens of thousands to flee their homes. In East Africa, the worst locust plague for decades has already put as many as 70 million people at risk of acute food insecurity.

Beasley said the pandemic has moved the world into ‘unchartered territory’ where 300,000 people a day could die of starvation from the 36 countries who are in the ‘perfect storm’ for food shortages.

Photograph: iStock

Courtesy of Barnabas Fund