World Vision warns 19 mln face hunger due to Covid-19
Harare (New Ziana) -International aid agency World Vision has warned that over 19 million people, half of them children, face starvation in 12 of the world’s most fragile countries due to a mix of conflict, the economic impacts of COVID-19 and climate-related natural disasters.
The humanitarian organisation is appealing to the international community to increase funding to meet urgent food needs in these and other fragile contexts to prevent the deaths of millions of people as only around 29 percent of the funds required to prevent potential famine have been received so far.
“Children across the world face devastating hunger every single day. The signs are clear to see. A number of countries are at risk of being plunged into famine situations. We need funds to support children across the world – and we need them right now,” said WV international president and CEO Andrew Morley.
Countries that were dealing with crises such as conflict before the COVID-19 pandemic were at the greatest risk of famine with the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been mired in conflict for decades, now having 5.7 million people at risk of starvation, a 77 percent increase from 2019.
“COVID-19 is one more shock for the most vulnerable children living in fragile contexts who face multiple crises, including armed conflict, which deeply affect their access to nutritious food,” said Morley.
“Restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus continue to hit the incomes of poor families the hardest, meaning they don’t have enough money to purchase food. Conflict and COVID-19 are a disastrous combination, making it incredibly difficult to get help to the children and families who need it most. There is no social welfare safety net to support these people and that’s why the international community must urgently step up.”
The number of children at risk of famine because they cannot access nutritious food has increased by 50 percent in one year, said Morley
WV Zimbabwe country director Emmanuel Isch said various partners had assisted in establishing nutrition gardens and other activities which were a key source of diverse food in communities, ensuring individuals had access to a balanced diet and better nutrition overall.
Countries included in the research included Afghanistan, Burkina Faso,Central African Republic, Ethiopia, DRC, Haiti, Honduras, Nigeria (North east), South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.
It is the largest NGO partner of the United Nations World Food Programme and their partnership in 2019 reached almost 11 million people in 29 countries, 53 percent of whom were children.