The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) has warned world leaders of famines of biblical proportions in 2021 if steps were not taken to quickly address the hunger triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit the world hard.
“We were able to avert it in 2020 … because the world leaders responded with money, stimulus packages, deferral of debt,” WFP head David Beasley said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Now, Beasley said, COVID-19 is surging again, economies are continuing to deteriorate particularly in low- and middle-income countries, and there is another wave of lockdowns and shutdowns.
But he said the money that was available in 2020 isn’t going to be available in 2021, so he has been using the Nobel Prize to meet leaders virtually and in person, talk to parliaments, and give speeches to sensitize those with power to this tragedy that we are facing — crises that really are going to be extraordinary over the next, who knows, 12 to 18 months.
Beasley likened the upcoming crisis to the Titanic saying right now, we really need to focus on icebergs, and icebergs are famine, starvation, destabilization and migration.
Beasley said WFP needs $15 billion next year — $5 billion just to avert famine and $10 billion to carry out the agency’s global programs including for malnourished children and school lunches which are often the only meal youngsters get.
According to a joint analysis by WFP and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation in October, 20 countries are likely to face potential spikes in high acute food insecurity in the next three to six months, and require urgent attention.