U.N. report says COVID-19 could lead up to 132 million people into hunger

New report suggests the coronavirus could push up to 132 million people into hunger by the end of 2020.

The United Nations have released a report implying that the ongoing global pandemic could lead millions of people to hunger by the end of the year, NPR reveals.

In an official statement, UNICEF explained:

“As progress in fighting hunger stalls, the COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems. While it is too early to assess the full impact of the lockdowns and other containment measures, at least another 83 million people, and possibly as many as 132 million, may go hungry in 2020.”

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, which is being published annually by U.N. agencies, including the World Health Organization(WHO), also issued the organization’s analysis.

According to the report, by the end of this year, the coronavirus pandemic ‘could tip over 100 million more people into hunger’.

The publication notes that economic recovery isn’t expected before 2021.

However, it is still unclear whether the number will remain above pre-pandemic projections.

“The expected recovery in 2021 would bring the number of undernourished down but still above what was projected in a scenario without the pandemic. Again, it is important to recognize that any assessment at this stage is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and should be interpreted with caution.”

Moreover, the U.N. reported that global hunger had been on the rise since 2014, increasing with nearly 60 million. In 2019, the undernourished population was estimated at around 690 million.

Image credits: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World/U.N.

Currently, Asia has the highest number of starving people. Although the report projects that by 2030 the continent will be home to almost 330 million hungry individuals, it states that ‘Africa would overtake Asia’. By the same year, the undernourished population in Africa is expected to be around 433 million.

UNICEF’s report forecasts three different scenarios about the impact of COVID-19 over world hunger. 

The worst-case scenario predicts that almost 828 million people will be starving by the end of 2020. Nearly 132 million out of the undernourished individuals in 2020 ‘might be attributable to the impact of COVID-19’.

Image credits: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World/U.N.

Furthermore, UNICEF emphasized the extremely high numbers of people suffering without access to a healthy diet. According to the publication, more than 3 billion people in the world could not afford to eat clean and healthy in 2017. Most of them are again found in Asia and Africa.

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