The fall-out of the coronavirus pandemic will worsen world hunger according to a recent report by the World Food Programme (WFP) and its partner organisations. At the end of 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries and territories faced high levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition due to various factors with about 73 million in Africa.
The contributing factors to rising food insecurity include conflict, economic hardships, displacement and extreme weathers. About 77 million cases of acute food insecurity occurring in 22 countries arose from conflicts, 24 million in eight countries were due to economic shocks and, 34 million in 25 countries due to extreme weather conditions.
With Covid-19 affecting livelihoods drastically — along with factors like a drop in global remittances and disruption of food supply chains — the impact on world hunger could set progress back considerably. WFP warns that the world could see a total of 265 million people being pushed into acute food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.
The pandemic’s impact on populations that are chronically undernourished will be disproportionately higher, given how poor nutrition affects immunity and other aspects of health. Rising food insecurity and lack of access to healthcare, maternal and childcare are likely to have a greater impact on many vulnerable nations, retarding growth and health for another generation.
The report also notes that children who are dependent on daily school meals in these areas will be terribly affected in terms of nutrient intake, and this needs to be addressed by all stakeholders. This pandemic has caused disruption in the transportation of food and other critical goods due to movement restrictions. Governments and other stakeholders need to pay heed to food insecurity rising due to the Covid-19 pandemic.