U.N.’s World Food Program Says Lockdowns Could Cause Hundreds of Millions to Starve

The below excerpts were written by the World Food Program (WFP) on 17 September 2020. The statement is linked at bottom. (All emphases ours.)

Along with our partners, WFP is going all-out to reach as many as 138 million people this year – the biggest scale-up in our history. Already, in the first six months of 2020, we’ve reached 85 million people.

Every day, we are succeeding – because of you — in keeping people alive and avoiding a humanitarian catastrophe. But we’re not out of the woods. This fight is far, far, far from over – the 270 million people marching toward the brink of starvation need our help today more than ever.

We’re doing just about all we can do to stop the dam from bursting. But, without the resources we need, a wave of hunger and famine still threatens to sweep across the globe. And if it does, it will overwhelm nations and communities already weakened by years of conflict and instability.

Financially, 2020 was a record year for WFP. We hit $8 billion for the first time ever – but our budget was set before the pandemic hit. Economies were strong. Reserve/emergency funds were available. But now, I am truly worried about what will happen next year. I know your governments are spending billions on domestic stimulus packages. National budgets are tight, and reserves are running low if not out. And, economies are shrinking. But I urge you – don’t walk away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance. Don’t turn your backs on the world’s hungriest people.

As COVID-19 pushed countries everywhere to lock down, the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs have been destroyed, and remittances have collapsed. The impact has been felt hardest by the 2 billion people who work in the informal economy around the world – mainly in middle and low-income countries. Already only one day’s work away from going hungry, in other words living hand to mouth. You and I have food in the pantry in a lockdown. We have enough food for two or three weeks. These people don’t have that luxury. If they miss a day’s wages, they miss a day’s worth of food and their children suffer.  They don’t have the money to buy their daily bread in those circumstances. This inevitably creates a risk of rising social tensions and instability.


Feature image: Feed My Starving Children

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