World on brink of hunger pandemic: WFP chief

The world is on the brink of a hunger pandemic as the coronavirus continues to spread, World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley said on April 21.

"Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the spectre of famine a very real and dangerous possibility," Beasley said in remarks made to a virtual session of the U.N. Security Council.

According to experts, 821 million people go to bed hungry and a newly-published Global Report on Food Crisis indicated an additional 135 million are facing crisis levels of hunger or worse.

"That means 135 million people on Earth are marching towards the brink of starvation. But now the World Food Programme analysis shows that, due to the coronavirus, an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That's a total of 265 million people," he added.

The WFP chief also warned 36 countries may face famine due to the virus.

"In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries, and in fact, in 10 of these countries we already have more than 1 million people per country who are on the verge of starvation.

"In many places, this human suffering is the heavy price of conflict," he added.

Since appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

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