The pandemic has deepened global hunger, with poorer countries sinking deeper into crisis.
For years, world hunger has been on the rise as poor countries face crises ranging from armed groups to extreme poverty. At the same time, climate-related droughts and floods have intensified, overwhelming the ability of affected countries to respond before the next disaster.
But over the past two years, economic shocks from the pandemic have accelerated the crisis.
An estimated 270 million people are expected to face life-threatening food shortages this year – up from 150 million before the pandemic – according to an analysis by the World Food Program, the United Nations anti-hunger agency. The number of people on the brink of famine, the most severe phase of a food crisis, has jumped to 41 million people today from 34 million last year, according to the analysis.
The World Food Program sounded the alarm again last week in a joint report with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, warning that “the conflicts, the economic repercussions of Covid-19 and the climate crisis are expected to result in higher levels of acute food insecurity in 23 hunger hot spots over the next four months, “mainly in Africa, but also in Central America, Afghanistan and North Korea.
The situation is particularly grim in Africa.
As another wave of the virus grips the continent, the toll has torn the informal safety net – including financial aid from family, friends and neighbors – which often supports the world’s poor in absence government support. Today, hunger has become a defining feature of the growing divide between rich countries which are returning to normal and poorer nations which are sinking deeper and deeper into crisis.
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