As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations is warning that without action, the world is at risk of numerous famines “of biblical proportions” in the near future.
On Tuesday, David Beasley, the director of the United Nations World Food Program, addressed the UN Security Council via video where he expressed concerns that the world is on “the brink of a hunger pandemic.”
Beasley noted that while “there are no famines yet” it is crucial that the world act now to “secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade.”
He explained that famines could be seen “in about three dozen countries,” ten of which already have more than 1 million people on the verge of starvation.
“There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself,” he warned.
“It is critical we come together as one united global community to defeat this disease, and protect the most vulnerable nations and communities from its potentially devastating effects.”
The WFP already estimated that in 2020, nearly 135 million people would be facing starvation.
With the addition of the coronavirus pandemic, Beasley is sounding the alarm that there could be an additional 130 million people “pushed to the brink of starvation.”
“That’s a total of 265 million people,” he explained.
Moving forward, the WFP is urging that countries make peace with one another, calling out for a “global ceasefire” so that the organization has “unimpeded humanitarian access to all vulnerable communities” to give them assistance.
“Supply chains have to keep moving if we are going to overcome this pandemic and get food from where it is produced to where it is needed,” he said.
“The truth is, we do not have time on our side,” he continued to warn. “I do believe that with our expertise and partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programs necessary to make certain the COVID-19 pandemic does not become a humanitarian and food crisis catastrophe.”