The UN food chief has finally spoken of the looming food crisis and warned that the world is facing what he calls “a perfect storm on top of a perfect storm.” David Beasley, the World Food Program Director, is urging donors, Gulf nations and billionaires in particular, to give a few measly day’s worth of profits to tackle a global crisis with the fertilizer supply right now to prevent widespread food shortages worldwide for the next upcoming year.
“Otherwise, there’s gonna be chaos all over the world,” Beasley warned.
“While we’re dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re also on the brink of a hunger pandemic.”
World Food Programme chief David Beasley warns that millions of people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/fSSWpwg5q7
— TRT World (@trtworld) April 22, 2020
Beasley said that when he took over as director of the World Food Program 5 1/2 years ago, only 80 million people worldwide headed toward starvation. But alleged climate issues have increased that number to 135 million. The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in early 2020, also contributed, doubling that number to 276 million people not knowing where their next meal was coming from. And then, finally, the Eastern block conflict and invasion on Feb. 24 sparked a war and a food, fertilizer, and energy crisis that has pushed that number to 345 million. Beasley says that within that 345 million, 50 million people in 45 countries are near starving to death right now, experiencing the perils of famine.
“If we don’t reach these people, you will have famine, starvation, destabilization of nations unlike anything we saw in 2007-2008 and 2011, and you will have mass migration,” Beasley said.
Beasley has met with world leaders and spoken at events during last week’s General Assembly gathering of leaders, where he administered dire warnings about the looming food crisis.
General Assembly President Csaba Korosi said in his opening address, “we live, it seems, in a permanent state of humanitarian emergency.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also warned that conflicts and humanitarian crises are spreading, and the funding gap for the UN’s humanitarian appeals is currently at $32 billion, which is the “widest gap ever.”
This year, Beasley said, the grain shipments from Ukraine were shut down due to the conflict, which affected shipments from Russia, the world’s second-largest exporter of fertilizer as well as a major food producer.
Beasley said that donor fatigue, unfortunately, undermines any aid efforts, particularly in countries in a constant crisis like Haiti. Inflation worldwide is also a significant concern, raising prices and financially devasting impoverished people who were punched in the gut by Covid-19. Families are forced to decide between cooking oil to feed their families or heating oil, so they don’t freeze to death this winter.
“If we don’t get on top of this quickly — and I don’t mean next year, I mean this year — you will have a food availability problem in 2023,” he said. “And that’s gonna be hell.”
According to Beasley, the world currently produces enough food to feed the 7.7 billion people in the world, but 50% of that food is because farmers used fertilizer to yield it. They can no longer get those high yields without it. China, the world’s top fertilizer producer, has banned exporting it, and Russia, which is number two, is struggling to get it to world markets because of sanctions.
“People are suffering and dying around the world. When a child dies every five seconds from hunger, shame on us.”
Latin America: More than 11 million people in the region are “marching towards the brink of starvation,” U.N. food chief warns ~ World Food Program’s David Beasley https://t.co/oJifj11xeQ @CBSNews @CBSNewsRadio @WFP @WFPChief pic.twitter.com/PbMapaGU1M
— Pamela Falk CBS News Correspondent United Nations (@PamelaFalk) July 30, 2020