09/01/2020, 16.20
ASIA
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Oxfam warns that hunger will cause more victims in Asia and the world than COVID-19

By the end of the year, 12,000 people could die every day from lack of food. This is more than the pandemic. Up to 132 million more people than forecast could face hunger. The novel coronavirus has put the spotlight on some of the deepest inequalities.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The world is plunging towards an unprecedented food crisis triggered by COVID-19, which could cause more victims than the virus itself.

According to a study by Oxfam, by the end of the year up to 12,000 people could die every day from hunger, a direct or indirect consequence of the novel coronavirus.

Such a number would be greater than those caused by the pandemic itself and linked to an increase of more than 80 per cent of people for whom food is a critical factor.

Updated estimates indicate that 132 million more people than expected could face hunger by the end of 2020, three times greater than any increase in this century.

The pandemic has disrupted food supply chains, undermined national economies and progressively eroded the purchasing power of consumers.

Analysts and experts point out that COVID-19 has put the spotlight on some of the deepest inequalities in the world, sharpening global social divisions.

Meanwhile, the richest continue to enjoy a dizzying pace of wealth accumulation whilst millions of people have been laid off and don't have enough money to feed their families.

In addition to economic hardship, prolonged lockdowns and the interruption of food supply chains have created serious problems to food distribution.

Even in its best-case projections, the UN predicts that hunger will be greater over the next decade than forecast before the pandemic.

By 2030, the number of undernourished people could reach 909 million, compared with a pre-COVID scenario of around 841 million.

“We’ll see the scars of this crisis for generations,” said Mariana Chilton, director of the Centre for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University. “In 2120, we’ll still be talking about this crisis.”

The food crisis can trigger real political upheavals. Going back to the hectic days of the French Revolution, food insecurity pushed people to take to the streets and protest against rising prices and to ask for better conditions.

Nowadays, inflation and resource scarcity are some of the factors that have exacerbated protests in Lebanon and Chile earlier this year.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, “Our food systems are failing,” warns the United Nations.

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