The next global pandemic is likely to be one of hunger as a consequence of measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the UN warned on Wednesday.
Although the World Health Organization, which reports to the United Nations, maintains that strict guidelines must be maintained to combat the spread of COVID-19, the World Food Program (WFP) assured that such measures will lead to increased poverty and hunger in the world.
WFP even added that the virus response could end up killing more people by the end of 2020 than the disease itself.
Last week, WFP Executive Director David Beasley warned the UN Security Council that the risk of large-scale famine in much of the developing world was now “of biblical proportions” as a result of the global pandemic.
“In facing the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic, ” Beasley told the council. “There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself,” he added.
Even before the outbreak caused by COVID-19, 2020 was on its way to witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, due to ongoing wars in places like Yemen, Syria, and South Sudan, compounded by natural disasters and swarms of locusts in the desert in Africa.
This already grim reality is now exacerbated by the fight to curb the coronavirus, which has led to the destruction of economies, the massive loss of jobs and the abrupt drop in oil prices.
“We can safely say that the levels have increased. Quarantine regulations, shipping problems and general supply chain difficulties are worsening and adding to previously existing famine conditions, ” Ian Bradbury, CEO of the 1st NAEF- based humanitarian organization, told Fox News in Canada.
“We can expect more global deaths from the secondary impacts of COVID-19 than the virus itself: The World Food Program currently estimates that 265 million people will be on the brink of starvation by the end of the year.”
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In early 2020, some 130 million people were already facing critical levels of hunger. That number could now more than double, to 265 million by the end of this year.
Currently, some 820 million people worldwide are believed to be malnourished, according to UN statistics, with 22% of children under 5 classified as “stunted” as a result of malnutrition.
Almost 700 million people, approximately 9% of the planet’s population, have “severe food insecurity” and almost two billion, one in four, would have “moderate or severe food insecurity”.