UN: Pandemic pushes 132 million people into hunger in 2020, Asia ranks first

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Photo: Reuters

MANILA – According to a new report from the United Nations, the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic could push up to 132 million people into hunger by the end of 2020.  This figure of hungry mouths is beyond the estimated entire population of the Philippines at 110 million.

“As progress in fighting hunger stalls, the pandemic is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems,” said the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in a statement.  UNICEF estimates that some 83 to 132 million may go hungry in 2020, although it is too early to assess the full impact of the community lockdowns and shuttering of economic activities across the globe.

The finding of UNICEF was part of the latest version of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, published annually by UN agencies.

However, according to the report that if there would be economic recovery by 2021, the number of malnourished people would go down but the rate of decrease is not yet clear.

The said report noticed the decline of world hunger for years before 2014 but has shot up by nearly 60 million.  Asia has the highest number of hungry individuals and 381 million of its people were undernourished in 2019. Around 690 million were undernourished in 2019 worldwide. 

UNICEF further highlighted the high numbers of people without access to a healthy diet, saying “the race to end malnutrition appears compromised.”  Around three billion people worldwide cannot afford a healthy diet.