The COVID-19 pandemic will see more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of the year, according to new figures from the World Food Programme (WFP).
Latest numbers indicate the lives and livelihoods of 265 million people in low and middle-income countries will be under severe threat unless swift action is taken to tackle the pandemic, up from a current 135 million.
That is nearly double the number in the newly published Global Report on Food Crises 2020, which estimates that 135 million people in 55 countries currently face acute hunger as a result chiefly of conflict, the effects of climate change, and economic crises. That report was drawn up prior to the emergence of COVID-19 as a pandemic, and the contrasting figures provide a startling insight into the devastating potential of this virus.
Concern is highest for those in countries across Africa as well as the Middle East, as the virus threatens lives and livelihoods along with the trading networks they rely on for survival.