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World hunger on the rise due to COVID, hurricane season won't help

Friday, July 10th 2020, 11:00 am - The number of severely food insecure people has risen 70 per cent over the past four years, a compound effect of climate change, conflict and socio-economic shocks, say health officials.

Wearing a mask and waiting in long lineups at the grocery store has certainly been inconvenient through the COVID-19 pandemic, but thanks to Canada's robust food supply chain, that's where the inconvenience has typically ended.

Other countries around the world haven't been so lucky, and with the height of monsoon and hurricane season upon us, the problem is expected to get much worse.

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates the number of acutely food insecure people could increase by 80 per cent from 149 million prior to COVID-19, to 270 million before the end of 2020 -- and every low or middle-income country faces this threat.

WFP1 - hunger to rise by 80 per cent

"While we've got to have a vaccine for COVID, we do have a vaccine for hunger and starvation -- and that's the World Food Programme, so we need support right now,” says WFP executive director, David Beasley.

“If we don't get that support, you can imagine death rates, starvation, mass migration by necessity, and exploitation by extremist groups. We've got the vaccine, we need to move it now."

People in Latin America are facing a 269 per cent rise in severe food insecurity, while South Africa faces a 90 per cent spike, and West and Central Africa up 135 per cent.

WFP - WFP - Africa hunger crises to rise

"Migrant workers aren't covered by the social protection systems, climate change again is a factor going through the dry corridor, places like Haiti, where people were hungry before, now they're not able to go out of their homes,” explains Julie Marshall, the World Food Programme's Canadian spokesperson. “Food prices are rising and they can't afford the food that's in the market."

In total, the number of severely food insecure people has risen 70 per cent over the past four years, a compound effect of climate change, conflict and socio-economic shocks.

If you're in a position to help, you can do so by donating at donatenow.wfp.org. Learn more about the World Food Programme in the video that leads this article.

Donate to WFP

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