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From coronavirus crisis to hunger crisis

 23-04-2020

Coronavirus crisis could double the number of people facing hunger by the end of the year, leading to 265 million people in a hunger crisis.

The coronavirus crisis has brought hunger to millions of people around the world. Due to national lockdowns and social distancing measures a lot of people become jobless and have no income anymore. The agricultural production and supply routes are disrupted and millions of people are wondering how they will get enough food to eat.

The coronavirus has been called an equalizer because it sickens both rich and poor. But when it comes to food, the reality is different. The virus is just exposing the inequalities between people.

Already 135 million people had been facing acute food shortages, but 130 million more could go hungry in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to Arif Husain, Chief Economist at the World Food Program, a United Nations agency. Altogether, an estimated of 265 million people could be pushed to starvation by the end of the year.

The world has experienced hunger crises before but nothing like this. Usually hunger crisis are regional and caused by a factor in particular (weather, wars, political instability…). The crisis we are experiencing now is global and caused by a multitude of factors linked to the coronavirus: loss of income, shortage of currency due to tourism drying up, collapse in oil prices, etc.

For the moment, there is no shortage of food globally but problems in planting, harvesting and transporting food will expose the poor countries in the coming months says Johan Swinnen, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute. The food security for poor people is likely to deteriorate significantly worldwide.

In order to try to reduce the impact of the crisis, some governments are distributing free food and putting in place plans to send money transfers to the poorest households. Beside this, communities around the world are taking matters into their own hands by raising money via crowdfunding or starting programs to buy meals for needy families.

Source: The New York Times

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