In a horrifying revelation, the anti-poverty organisation Oxfam said that 11 people die of hunger each minute, which outpaced Covid 19 deaths. As per reports, only seven people per minute died because of Covid 19.
Oxfam said in their report “The Hunger Virus Multiplies” that the number of famine like conditions around the globe increased six times over the last year. In the report, Oxfam said that conflict remained the primary cause of hunger since the pandemic.
The report mentioned that severe level of hunger spiralled since the pandemic. It noted that about 155 million people around the world lived in crisis levels of food insecurity. This is 20 million more than last year. The Oxfam said that two of every three of people are going hungry mainly because their country is in war and conflict.
With respect to increase of famine-like conditions, the report states that 521,814 people across Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan, and Yemen faced the condition. This comes to over 500 per cent since the pandemic started at the end of 2019, when 84,500 people in South Sudan and Yemen were in famine-like conditions.
The report also graphed that the number of people living in extreme poverty would likely breach 745 million by the end of 2021. It warned that marginalised groups, especially women, displaced people, and informal workers, would be the hardest hit.
The report describes that worsening climate crisis also pushed tens of millions more people into hunger. Unemployment and severely disrupted food production also led to a 40 percent surge in global food prices – the highest rise in over a decade
Oxfam’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher said that conflicts on top of COVID-19 economic fallout and a worsening climate crisis pushed more than 5,20,000 people to the brink of starvation. “Instead of battling the pandemic, warring parties fought each other, too often landing the last blow to millions already battered by weather disasters and economic shocks,” she said.
In the report, Oxfam also mentions that conflict and violence led to the highest ever number of internal displacement, forcing 48 million people to flee their homes at the end of 2020.
Gabriela Bucher noted that starvation continued to be used as a weapon of war, depriving civilians of food and water and impeding humanitarian relief. “The pandemic has also laid bare the deep inequality in our world. The wealth of the 10 richest people – nine of whom are men – increased by $413 billion last year. This is 11 times more than what the UN says is needed for its entire global humanitarian assistance.” She said.
Oxfam said that the world’s worst hunger hotspots like Ethiopia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria continue to be battered by conflict. They witnessed a surge in extreme levels of hunger since last year.
It pointed out that more than 3,50,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region experienced famine like conditions. Aparty from this, t6he report also mentions about Yemen where half the population are expected to face crisis levels of food insecurity or worse this year. Hunger also intensified India, South Africa and Brazil
The report stressed that hunger will not end unless drastic collective measures are taken against the underlying injustices fuelling hunger. As governments rebuild after the Coronavirus pandemic, Oxfam underlines the following to stop the growing hunger crisis and building more just and sustainable food systems.
- Governments must rebuild a fairer and more sustainable global economy. They must tackle the key drivers of hunger and eradicate underlying inequalities that widen the gap between rich and poor people
- Governments should fully fund the UN’s humanitarian appeal and support a global fund for social protection
- Guarantee humanitarian access in conflict zones and an end to using hunger as weapon of war
- Forge peace by promoting women’s participation and leadership in peacebuilding
- Build fairer, more resilient, and more sustainable food systems
- Ensure women lead the pandemic response and the recovery
- Support a People’s Vaccine
- Take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis