Coronavirus has wreaked havoc around the globe. But we must be prepared for lurking tragedy that would be worse than the coronavirus. According to latest Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2020), the number of acutely food-insecure people in crises or worse was 135m in 2019. That was before Covid-19. That number is expected to rise significantly in 2020, and according to a recent report by the United Nations, it is estimated to be 265m or more. We have famine of epic proportions that we will be staring at soon if nothing is done.
In the time that it took for me to finish my breakfast this morning, about 260 people had died of starvation. That’s based on an estimate in 2015 that 25,000 people die a day of hunger. That’s from 2015! The number of food-insecure people have risen by 30% or more since then. If 30% more, then it would be about 340 people that would have died in the time it took for me to finish my breakfast this morning. Now if we scaled it up to the number projected for 2020, about 690 people may die while I eat my breakfast. Just take a moment to think about that.
Let’s bring it back home for just a moment. About 11% of US households are already food insecure. That was before the coronavirus. With millions of Americans now out of work, we will see this number going up in our country. Food security is correlated to economic output. Malnutrition is one of the main barriers preventing children, communities, and countries from realizing their full potential. If we want to avert economic ruin, we will need to address the food crisis that may be threatening us too.
Going back to the broader view of the world, we have a catastrophe looming and it will hit very hard very soon. Something needs to be done. This catastrophe will be worse than coronavirus – multiple of times worse. We can sit and have our breakfast and believe that this is not our problem, but we will soon realize that it is our problem. It is our problem just like coronavirus has been our problem – a problem for all of humanity.
I know some of us had been asked as kids what we wanted to do when we grow up and we answered innocently-at-the-time that we would like to ‘end world hunger’. Well, that might be needed more than ever right now.