COVID-19: Fuel for World HungerBy Sofía Hanna | Thu, 10/15/2020 - 12:23
Inequality, the climate crisis, poverty and dysfunctional food systems have fueled the world hunger issue for years. Now, governments have to deal with unemployment and disruption in food production, further increasing the world hunger problem.
Before the pandemic, overpopulation and stagnant economic development were already leaving many people behind money and work-wise. To deal with these problematic the UN and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) had already-established plans to fight world hunger but once COVID-19 arrived, those plans had to be scrapped almost immediately due to them not being a viable option anymore.
Since 2018, world hunger numbers were already above the expected average and as the years went by, this did not improve. According to the UN and FAO, in 2019 the number of people within the world hunger level was 690 million. Currently, there are currently 820 million people suffering from hunger, which means that one out of nine people face this difficulty. This represents a growth rate of 130 million people within a year. The most-affected regions are Asia, with 11.3 percent of its population suffering from hunger, Africa with 19.9 percent and Latin America and the Caribbean with 6.5 percent. The drastic increase in unemployment and food production, especially for the basic food basket, as well as limited food availability represent a big part of the problem.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) released an estimate of how many jobs were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic at around 305 million, resulting in almost 500 million people soon or already sunk in poverty.
In Mexico, the problem is further aggravated as it is treated as nonexistent. According to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s address during the 75th UN Assembly on Sept. 22, there is no hunger in Mexico and this will continue to be the case. However, there are multiple studies, one of them from UNAM, showing that there are almost 22 million Mexicans that are unable to afford the basic food basket and that almost 16 million have reached the poverty line since COVID-19 started.