Ground Report | New Delhi: Every minute 11 people are dying; An average of 11 people are dying every minute from extreme hunger caused by a combination of social and political conflict, COVID-19, and the climate crisis. This rate would exceed the current death rate of the pandemic which is seven people per minute.
According to Oxfam’s latest report, The Hunger Virus is multiplying, there are currently 155 million people in the world living in a food crisis situation. which is 20 million more people than last year. The hunger hotspots highlighted in this report are Afghanistan, Yemen, the Sahelian parts of West Africa, South Sudan, and Venezuela.
In these places, the food crisis was already worsening, and the combination of the economic consequences of the pandemic, conflict, and climate crisis has driven more than 48 million people to a critical level of hunger.
Every minute 11 people are dying
Mass unemployment and major disruptions in food production have also caused the price of food to skyrocket 40%, the largest increase in more than a decade. In Venezuela, for example, difficult economic conditions and hyperinflation have exacerbated the food crisis.
Since before the arrival of the pandemic, the complex crisis had already affected almost the entire population of the country, estimates indicated that 94% of Venezuelans could not afford to buy enough food. In 2019, 9.3 million people in Venezuela (about a third of its population) faced moderate to severe hunger, in what was the fourth most serious food crisis in the world.
Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International, has stated the following:
“The incessant conflicts, the economic consequences of the pandemic and the worsening climate crisis have pushed more than 520,000 people to the brink of famine. Instead of coping with the pandemic, the warring parties have continued to fight each other, often dealing a lethal blow to millions of people already suffering the consequences of extreme weather events and economic disruption. ”
The Central American Dry Corridor, for example, has been affected by the hurricane season in the Atlantic, which has reached an unprecedented level, with 30 storms in 2020, compared to 18 in 2019. This situation added to Confinements and internal conflicts has intensified hunger in this part of the world.
It is estimated that in 2021 almost 8 million people in this region are in a situation of acute food insecurity, which represents an increase of 2.2 million people compared to 2018. In addition, according to estimates, in 2020, during the pandemic 8.3 million jobs were destroyed in Central America.
India’s situation is also not good
On the other hand, if we talk about India, there are millions of people facing an acute shortage of food. This is the reason why India has been displayed as a hunger hotspot in this report. If we look at the figures for 2020, about 190 million people in India are suffering from malnutrition. At the same time, about a third of children under the age of five are not developing properly.
Where after coming under the grip of this virus, there has been a 64 percent drop in the consumption of essential food items like pulses of people in India. At the same time, there has been a decline of 73 percent in the consumption of green vegetables. More than 70 percent of the people in the country admit that their food intake has decreased compared to before the pandemic.
The reduction in income is largely responsible for this. The lack of proper implementation of social security schemes in the country is also largely responsible for this. At the same time, the closure of schools also has a hand somewhere.
Not only this, the report believes that the country’s social security system has failed to provide help to those who needed it most. The government still relies on data from the 2011 Census for its public distribution scheme, leaving nearly 10 crore people who were entitled to rations denied this help. It is estimated that only 57 percent of the population entitled to this scheme is getting its benefit.
Not only this, but the closure of schools has also been considered as a reason for starvation in the country. Karbi 120 million children in the country were dependent on mid-day meals provided in schools, due to the closure of schools and many meal programs, children were not getting nutritious food.