THE NEUTRAL ZONE
At a time when countries are focusing on protecting themselves from the pandemic, international organizations are urging the U.S. and other affluent nations to prevent the food crisis – not just for humanitarian aid, but for foreign policy interests as well. World organizations are asking for $12 billion to prevent hunger crises and protect U.S. interests abroad.
Amid border closures, strict lockdowns, and a world health crisis, supply chains are struggling to deliver food to where it is needed most. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization warns the number of people experiencing extreme hunger worldwide could double. Africa is expected to be one of the hardest-hit areas.
Some fear the death toll from secondary impacts of COVID-19 could surpass the death toll of the virus itself. Interruptions to the food supply chain and medicine could raise the child mortality rate for the first time in 60 years.
Locusts, COVID-19, flooding pose ‘triple threat’ in Africa – Associated Press – 5/21/2020
Yemen in the nearby Arabian Peninsula is also threatened, and United Nations officials warn that if locusts are not brought under control there, the conflict-hit country will remain a reservoir for further infestations in the region. Lockdowns imposed for the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed efforts to combat the locusts, especially imports of the pesticides needed for aerial spraying that is called the only effective control.
In the Mekong, a Confluence of Calamities – Foreign Policy – 5/20/2020
As a still developing nation, Cambodia remains heavily reliant on agriculture to sustain livelihoods and provide food. Subsistence farming is common—the United Nations Development Program estimates that over 70 percent of Cambodian farms engage in some version of the practice—and the agriculture sector employs more than 30 percent of the population, contributing more than one-fifth of the national GDP. For many, a poor or destroyed crop yield can mean financial ruin.
UN warns coronavirus fallout will lead to the next pandemic – global starvation – Fox News – 5/20/2020
“While dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic,” [WFP’s executive director David] Beasley told the [UN Security Council]. “There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.”
The New Vision on Twitter, 5/20/2020: Guterres warns virus could send millions in Africa into ‘extreme poverty’ “The pandemic threatens African progress. It will aggravate long-standing inequalities, heighten hunger, malnutrition, and vulnerability to disease,” Guterres said. https://t.co/WDVQBAGaPB | #VisionUpdates https://t.co/MUIeudnW5C
Rob Gebelhoff on Twitter, 5/20/2020: We should be very alarmed about the looming global hunger crisis: https://t.co/27Vc5LGdZ3
Laurie Few on Twitter, 5/20/2020: The Granny Gardens project is also inspired by the Victory Gardens planted in people’s yards and in parks during the Second World War to deal with a growing food crisis. https://t.co/QtcfGi0x7L