With all the commotion caused by Covid-19, many are focusing on when life can return to normal and when they can get back to work, but there may be a much more severe problem lurking in the coming weeks and months.
Poorer countries are already struggling financially, and many are on the brink of starvations, but according to the UN and WHO, the worse is yet to come. COVID-19 infections are expected to peak in the world’s poorest countries in the next three to six months.
The United Nations warns there may be a global famine of ”biblical proportion”. This is basically a worse case scenario where there’s a food scarcity for everyone due to collapse of the food chain.
The UN’s food agency helps nearly 100 million people on any given day and “unless we can keep those essential operations going, the health pandemic will soon be followed by a hunger pandemic. There’s no question mega-famines are on our brink literally right now”.
The UN and partner agencies have launched a $6.7 billion global appeal to fight Covid-19 with special focus given to the more vulnerable countries. The appeal was launched on Thursday by Mark Lowcock, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Lowcock said that while the virus has now affected every country and almost every person on the planet, the most devastating and destabilizing impacts will be felt in the world’s poorest countries.
The updated appeal included nine additional vulnerable countries for a complete collapse of the food chain: Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, Mozambique, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zimbabwe.
“We are already seeing, however, challenges in terms of the logistics involving the movement of food (not being able to move food from point A to point B), and the pandemic’s impact on livestock sector due to reduced access to animal feed and slaughterhouses’ diminished capacity (due to logistical constraints and labour shortages) similar to what happened in China,” said the FAO.
The coronavirus outbreak could affect food security as the global pandemic disrupts labor availability and the supply chain.
“Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty.”
Lowcock, the humanitarian chief, said the pandemic “is unlike anything we have dealt with in our lifetime”.