After leaving more than 1.3 million people dead worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is also pushing millions of people to the brink of famine. Learn more about the communities in crisis and how you can help.
1. The United Nations is warning that a new wave of famine could sweep the globe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened dire situations related to food access in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen. These countries were already facing conflict, mass displacement, and climate and economic crises that left people without reliable access to nutritious food.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 135 million people globally faced acute food shortages. That number is expected to nearly double this year to 270 million people. In the Sahel region of Africa, 14 million people are experiencing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity—the highest figures in a decade.
Source: The United Nations + The Guardian
2. Yemen could face famine in months.
The situation in Yemen is considered the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the population—24 million people—in need of emergency assistance. UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley recently announced that Yemen will face a devastating famine within months unless we take action.
Yemen has been embroiled in conflict since 2015 when the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen. The coalition-backed government forces are fighting the Iran-allied Houthi group, which captured the capital, Sanaa, in 2014. Since then, more than 100,000 people have been killed in the war. As officials try to restart peace talks, Yemeni families are being hit hard by an economic and currency collapse, and now, the COVID-19 crisis.
Source: United Nations OCHA + Al Jazeera
3. Lockdowns seriously affect the food supply.
Economic shutdowns and restrictions on movement to curb the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted global food supplies since March. That caused crops to go unharvested in many parts of the world and added to the agricultural losses from an invasion of locusts in Southern and Eastern Africa. Across the continent, governments quickly implemented lockdowns—at least 42 African countries enforced partial or full stay-at-home orders by mid-April. Although that may have helped slow the virus, the resulting unemployment and loss of income has made it more difficult for people to access food.
Source: Reuters + The New York Times
[Help people facing COVID-19 and famine by supporting community-led responses through GlobalGiving.]
4. COVID-19 could leave an additional 132 million people undernourished.
A quarter of the global population, or 2 billion people, experienced hunger or did not regularly access nutritious and sufficient food in 2019, and 690 million were undernourished. A report on the state of food security and nutrition in the world in 2020 produced by the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, and other UN agencies estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic could leave an additional 83-132 million people undernourished. That’s an increase of 12-19% from 2019. Even in countries not facing famine, disruptions to the food supply, income losses, and declines in money sent by relatives living abroad as a result of the pandemic means that millions of people are now struggling to get enough nutritious food.
Source: World Health Organization
5. GlobalGiving partners are on the ground and responding to the crises in these areas.
GlobalGiving partners are committed to meeting the needs of people facing famine and other challenges related to food access in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen. After responding to urgent needs, our partners will continue to support community-led, long-term relief and recovery efforts in these regions.
Source: GlobalGiving Disaster Response Team
6. Cash is the best way to help people at risk of COVID-19 and famine in these regions.
Why? Cash is easy to transfer and can have the greatest impact to meet people’s immediate needs. Individuals’ needs also vary greatly throughout the disaster response process. Some will require financial support, medical care, and psychological assistance years down the road.
Source: GlobalGiving + USAID Center for International Disaster Information
Help people facing famine by supporting community-led responses through GlobalGiving.
Featured Photo: Humanitarian Relief for Yemen by Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation