Coronavirus pandemic could lead tens of millions to chronic starvation

The United Nations reports that the world’s hungry population grew by 10 million last year and warns that the coronavirus pandemic could put as many as 130 million more people into chronic hunger this year. Preliminary forecasts based on available global economic outlook indicate that the pandemic “may add an additional 83 (million) to 132 million undernourished people in 2020,” the study said.

The UN agencies reported that nearly 690 million people, or almost 9% of the world’s population, were hungry last year, an rise of 10 million since 2018 and nearly 60 million since 2014. The study noted that, after a gradual decline over decades, chronic hunger “began to grow gradually in 2014 and continues to do so.”

Oxfam, a humanitarian organization committed to poverty alleviation, called the UN study “Extremely Disturbing.” In a statement, Oxfam called on governments to completely support the UN’s COVID-19 appeal and to cancel low-income countries’ debts so that money could be freed to tackle “the increase in hunger linked to the pandemic.”