New York: The world is at risk of suffering widespread famines “of biblical proportions” within just a few months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UN has warned.
David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme (WFP), said that even before Covid-19 became an issue, the planet was facing the “worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”.
He cited wars in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, locust swarms in Africa, frequent natural disasters and economic crises including in Lebanon, Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Mr Beasley said 821 million people go to bed hungry every night all over the world and a further 135 million are facing “crisis levels of hunger or worse”.
Worryingly, Beasley had warned that 2020 would be the worst year for food security since World War 2 even before the pandemic struck, based on last year’s forecasts. The situation was exacerbated by locust swarms, the worst in decades, that hit East Africa earlier this year, putting some 70 million lives at risk.
In a call to action, he added: “I do believe that with our expertise and our partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programmes necessary to make certain the Covid-19 pandemic does not become a human and food crisis catastrophe.”