COVID-19 will double number of people facing food crises

The COVID-19 pandemic could almost double the number of people suffering acute hunger, pushing it to more than a quarter of a billion by the end of 2020, the United Nations Worl d Food Programme (WFP) warned, as WFP and other partners released a new report on food crises around the world.

The number of people facing acute food insecurity or worse stands to rise to 265 million in 2020, up by 130 million from the 135 million in 2019, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, according to a WFP projection. The estimate was announced alongside the release of the Global Report on Food Crises, produced by WFP and 15 other humanitarian and development partners.

In this context, it is vital that food assistance programme be maintained, including WFP’s own programmes which offer a lifeline to almost 100 million vulnerable people globally.


  • Some 265 million people in low and middle-income countries will be in acute food insecurity by the end of 2020 unless swift action is taken (source: WFP projection).
  • The majority of people suffering acute food insecurity in 2019 were in countries affected by conflict (77 million), climate change (34 million) and economic crises (24 million people). (source: Global Report on Food Crises).
  • 10 countries constituted the worst food crises in 2019:  Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, the Sudan, Nigeria, and Haiti. (source: Global Report on Food Crises).
  • South Sudan had 61 percent of its population in a state of food crisis (or worse) in 2019. Eight other countries also had at least 35 percent of their populations in a state of food crisis: Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Syrian Arab Republic and Haiti. (source: Global Report on Food Crises).
  • These ten countries accounted for 66 percent of the total population in Crisis or worse, that  is 88 million people. (source: Global Report on Food Crises).

 WFP’s Chief Economist, Arif Husain said:

“COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread. It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat if they earn a wage. Lockdowns and global economic recession have already decimated their nest eggs. It only takes one more shock – like COVID-19 – to push them over the edge. We must collectively act now to mitigate the impact of this global catastrophe.

The effects of poverty on children

  • According to world bank report. “The poorest 20 percent of the world’s children are twice as likely as the richest 20 percent to be stunted by poor nutrition and to die before their 5th birthday.”
  • 2.5 million new-borns worldwide die within their first month of life.
  • Almost 200 million children under the age of 5 in developing regions are underweight for their age.
  • 19.4 million infants in the least developed countries are not protected from diseases by routine immunization.
  • 2.8 million children under the age of 19 currently live with HIV.

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