Famine iStock

David Beasley, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, spoke yesterday (Tuesday) in a virtual session of the UN Security Council which was titled "Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Protecting Civilians Affected by Conflict-Induced Hunger".

"At the same time while dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic", Beasley said, "we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic".

Beasly emphasized that speaking with world leaders way before the coronavirus, he said that 2020 would be facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

"So today, with COVID-19", he stressed, "we are not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the spectre of famine a very real and dangerous possibility".

According to the UN World Food Programme 821 million people go to bed hungry every night all over the world, "chronically hungry" Beasly noted.

According to the new Global Report on Food Crisis published yesterday (Tuesday) 135 million people on earth are marching towards the brink of starvation.

"But now", Beasly explained, "the World Food Programme analysis shows that, due to the Coronavirus, an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people".

"There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself", he stated.

Beasly defined 350 million US Dollars as what he needs to set up a network of logistics hubs and transport systems to keep humanitarian supply chains moving around the world.

"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".

"The actions we take will determine our success, or failure, in building sustainable food systems as the basis of stable and peaceful societies. The truth is, we do not have time on our side, so let’s act wisely – and let’s act fast. I do believe that with our expertise and partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programs necessary to make certain the COVID-19 pandemic does not become a humanitarian and food crisis catastrophe".

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