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Crop Biotech Update

COVID-19 Driving Up Hunger in Food Crisis Hotspots, Urgent Action Necessary

June 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is heightening hunger in many countries, especially to those that were experiencing food insecurity even before the disease outbreak. This is according to the initial and ongoing assessments conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization on the United Nations (FAO).

"The COVID-19 pandemic poses a clear and present danger to food security and nutrition, especially to the world's most vulnerable communities," FAO Director-General QU Dongy said during a virtual event. For instance, food insecurity in Afghanistan has been aggravated by the pandemic, with 10.3 million people experiencing acute hunger or worse. A similar trend was found in the Central African Republic where an estimate of 2.4 million people is in worse levels of acute food insecurity, which is an 11 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. About 3.5 million people in Somalia are projected to face food crisis, which is 3 times the number at the start of 2020.

According to the 2020 Global Report on Food Crises, released by FAO, the European Union, and 13 other partners, 135 million people worldwide were already coping with acute hunger prior to the pandemic. With an additional stressor, another 183 million were at risk to be pushed towards extreme hunger. FAO recommends more support for livelihoods since cost-benefit analysis indicated that such interventions will be helpful.

Get more information from FAO and the 2020 Global Report on Food Crises.

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