FROM THE FIELD: COVID-19 poses increased hunger risk for hundreds of millions

16 April 2020

Before the COVID-19 coronavirus began spreading around the world, hunger and malnourishment was already a major challenge for hundreds of millions of people. Now, there are serious concerns that the pandemic will make it harder for humanitarian organizations, including UN agencies, to reach them.

A mother and child in north-eastern Syria, where there is deep concern about the potential impact of COVID-19 amidst the ongoing conflict., by WFP/Alan Ali

The World Food Programme (WFP), the UN’s food-assistance agency, points out that every major outbreak in recent memory (notably Ebola, SARS and MERS), has had a negative impact on food security, and experts are warning that, if COVID-19 gets a foothold in countries with fragile health systems and weak social safety nets, the current pandemic will have a similar effect.

The virus has proved to be especially deadly for those who already have underlying health problems, and this is also likely to include those suffering the effects of chronic hunger and malnourishment: Around 20 per cent of the African population fall into this category.

Click here to read about the five major threats that COVID-19 poses to global food security, highlighted by WFP.



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