Novel Coronavirus may cause Extreme Poverty and Hunger - Know How? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Novel Coronavirus may cause Extreme Poverty and Hunger - Know How?

Entering 2020, the number of hungry and malnourished people around the world was already on the rise due to an increase in violent conflict and climate change impacts.

Today, over 800 million face chronic undernourishment and over 100 million people are in need of life-saving food assistance. 

The novel coronavirus pandemic is putting enormous strain on the public health system around the world, and millions of people in the world’s most advanced economy are in some form of quarantine.
The human toll will be high, and that massive efforts to turn the tide carry a heavy economic cost.

The health impacts of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic on some of the poorest countries are still unknown.
Homeless and daily wage people in several developing countries are increasingly going hungry during the pandemic.
Every major outbreak in recent memory – Ebola, SARS, and MERS – has had both direct and indirect negative impacts on food security. This is what the experts are saying about the likelihood and nature of such impacts from COVID-19.

The heads of three global agencies warned of the risk of a worldwide “food shortage” if authorities fail to manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis properly.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, WHO, AND WTO – panic buying by people going into the fragility of supply chains as supermarket shelves emptied in many countries.
Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market.

COVID-19 may prove especially deadly for people suffering from chronic or acute hunger or malnourishment.

In Africa and Asia, more than about 1.2 billion people face the highest percentage of undernourishment on the planet, affecting over 20% of the population. The COVID-19 virus has proved especially deadly for those who are elderly suffering from malnourishment.

If coronavirus got into North Korea, where their rate would go up quite a bit. With their general population suffering from malnutrition, it would be much, much worse than China.
For example – it is believed that the survival rate of patients suffering from Ebola was affected by what healthcare workers call preceding nutritional status or the baseline nutritional health of people affected by the virus.

Coronavirus may spike in food supply chains, food shortages, and food price spikes
So. Far novel coronavirus has not shown a major direct impact on the supply or price of staple foods in places affected by the virus or globally. During the SARS AND MERS outbreaks in China, there was also minimal disruption to markets and rice locally, owing to sufficient buffer stocks and measures taken to ensure the continued flow of goods. Thus has not always been the case, however, in sub-Saharan African.
In many developing countries, millions of families already spend upwards of half of their income on food in normal circumstances.

Countries that rely heavily on imported food to meet demand, face disproportionate risk from supply chain failures, especially in the face of border-crossing closures. Finally, it is the impacts of farmers leaving their fields fallow or facing delays in planting and harvesting because of sickness and breakdowns in non-food supply chains, like fertilizers and other critical inputs, that may ultimately most impact developing country economies.

Novel coronavirus may cause a global economic slowdown or fall into recession, exacerbating extreme poverty and hunger

The organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has dramatically revised its projections for global GDP growth this year, calling coronavirus and its impacts on markets.
The greatest threat since the global financial crisis in 2008. According to the latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report (SOFI), economic decline has major impacts on poverty and food insecurity.
The uneven pace of economic recovery and continuing poor economic performance in many countries after the 2009-2009 global economic downturn are also undermining efforts and end hunger and malnutrition.


“Hunger has increased in many countries where the economy has slowed down or contracted, mostly in middle-income countries.”

Economic decline, poverty, and food security often accompany one another. Global food security programme could face additional risks if humanitarian and development resources are diverted away from them to combat COVID-19.

What the UN’s food chief suggests?
To reduce the risk of an even greater toll shortage of food for millions, even in affluent countries- the world must take immediate action to minimize disruptions to food supply chains.

A globally coordinated and coherent response is needed to prevent this public health crisis from triggering a food crisis in which people cannot find or afford food.

In 2007-2008, these immediate measures proved extremely damaging, especially for low-income food-deficit countries and to the efforts of humanitarian organizations to procure supplies for the needy and vulnerable.

Policymakers must take care to avoid accidentally tightening food-supply conditions.
While every country faces its own challenges collaboration-between governments and the full gamut of sectors and stakeholders- paramount we are experiencing a global problem that requires a global response.
Wha the UN’s World Food Programme is doing?
The world’s largest hunger-fighting organization works in some of the difficult places on earth to provide food assistance to people suffering from the impacts of man-made conflict, climate-related extreme weather events, and other shocks.

World Food programme (WFP) serves a population that will potentially experience the greatest risks from COVID-19 and that have the least capacity to cope.

WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley said – COVID-19 impact on the organization’s in Rome, Italy: “We’re in 83 countries, we are in war and conflict and we keep people alive. We can’t shut down headquarters for any reason.

WFP is committed to maintaining and, where necessary, scaling up its food assistance operations to reach the 86 million people who require its help. 

As it did in response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and again in 2018, WFP will continue to leverage its unmatched logistical expertise and field presence to closely monitor global food supplies and prices, preposition food stocks to priority operations, and support WHO and governments with supply chain expertise.

Some national, international organizations that are working to ensure food, aid, and medical supplies are delivered to those who need it.

Feeding America: This organization helps feed communities and individuals facing hunger across the United States through a nationwide network of food banks.

No Kid Hungry: With coronavirus forcing mass school closures across the country, millions of children are losing the daily meals they depend on. No Kid Hungry uses donations to send emergency grants to food banks and local community groups. It diverts resources to feed kids in the hardest-hit communities. The organization also has plans in place to ensure families know how to find food while schools are closed and making sure kids get three meals a day.

Meals on Wheels: This organization delivers meals to the country’s elderly population. Many of its local programs are struggling with the additional costs of delivering meals during the outbreak.

NYC organizations: You can donate to several New York City–based food relief organizations that are working to ensure meals are delivered to the city's elderly population or those who are too sick to cook or shop for food. Citymeals is taking donations to ensure “every one of our homebound elderly neighbors in need has nourishing meals during this dangerous outbreak.”

The Seattle Foundation: This coalition of philanthropic, business, and government partners have started a COVID-19 Response Fund that will deploy resources to community-based organizations at the forefront of the coronavirus relief efforts in the Puget Sound region in Washington. It will provide grants to fund organizations that are helping residents without health insurance or access to sick days, health care and gig economy workers, and communities of color. It will help address the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations affected by closures and cancellations.

The CDC Foundation: This nonprofit organization for the CDC is raising funds to help respond to the public health threat when federal and state funding is not available. The foundation said it will use the funds to support state and local health departments in the US as well as support the global response including logistics, personal protective equipment, and critical response supplies.

The American Red Cross: As the number of coronavirus cases increases in the US, the number of people eligible to give blood and platelets for patients in need could decrease further, the Red Cross said. The organization is urging all eligible, healthy donors to donate blood and platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply flow and avoid potential shortages.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: This US-based organization is supporting local nonprofits in areas with a high number of affected individuals and vulnerable populations to help them support hourly wage earners, gig economy workers, immigrant populations, older adults, people with disabilities, and other communities vulnerable to the physical, mental, and economic impacts of the pandemic.

GoFundMe: This fundraising site has started a general relief fund to directly support those affected by the pandemic and organizations working to keep people safe, find a cure, or support their communities. GoFundMe will distribute donations made to this campaign and other verified campaigns and to aid such organizations.

Save the Children: This international organization is helping to protect vulnerable children and families by training health teams across the world on protection and prevention. The organization is supplying personal protective equipment and other supplies to help health staffers on the front lines of fighting the outbreaks.

UNICEF: The United Nations Children's Fund is sending supplies and support to save and protect vulnerable children affected by the coronavirus.

GlobalGiving: Donations to this US-based organization’s coronavirus relief fund will help local organizations in affected areas meet immediate needs for health care, food, and water and transition to longer-term education and recovery efforts.

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