Kolkata, India: Eleven people die of hunger every minute, and the number of people facing famine-like circumstances has surged sixfold in the previous year, Oxfam, an anti-poverty organization says in a new staggering report.
According to Oxfam’s research, The Hunger Virus Multiplies, the mortality toll from famine exceeds that of COVID-19, which kills about seven people per minute.
“The statistics are staggering, but we must remember that these figures are made up of individual people facing unimaginable suffering. Even one person is too many,” said Oxfam America’s president and CEO, Abby Maxman.
According to the humanitarian organization, 155 million people throughout the world are now living in food insecurity or worse, up 20 million from the previous year.
Due to the military turmoil in their country, around two-thirds of them are hungry.
“Today, unrelenting conflict on top of the COVID-19 economic fallout, and a worsening climate crisis have pushed more than 520,000 people to the brink of starvation,” Maxman said.
“Instead of battling the pandemic, warring parties fought each other, too often landing the last blow to millions already battered by weather disasters and economic shocks.”
Despite the epidemic, Oxfam reports that worldwide military spending surged by $51 billion during the outbreak, which is more than six times the amount required by the United Nations to eradicate famine.
Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, all of which are mired in conflict, were named as “the worst hunger hotspots” in the report.
“Starvation continues to be used as a weapon of war, depriving civilians of food and water and impeding humanitarian relief. People can’t live safely or find food when their markets are being bombed and crops and livestock are destroyed,” Maxman said.
Governments were encouraged to stop wars from causing “catastrophic hunger” and to ensure that relief agencies could function in conflict zones and assist those in need, according to the group.
It also urged donor countries to fund the UN’s hunger-relief initiatives “quickly and fully.”
“We collaborate with 694 different partners in 68 different countries. Oxfam hopes to reach millions of people in the coming months and is in desperate need of cash to maintain its global initiatives,” according to the report’s press release.
Meanwhile, global warming and the pandemic’s economic consequences have resulted in a 40% increase in global food prices, the highest in more than a decade.
According to the research, this spike has contributed considerably to the plight of tens of millions of people.