COVID-19 could double food insecurity in Africa, warns UN

* Says number of food-insecure people in region to increase to 43 million in 3 months

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the continued spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic currently distressing countries across East Africa, the United Nations (UN) has warned that food insecurity could more than double in just three months’ time.

Agency report says the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) Tuesday, April 28 estimates that some 20 million people currently do not have secure provisions of food across nine countries in the region.

These countries, according to the WFP, are Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.

It was learnt that in comparison to other parts of the world, these countries have so far registered few confirmed COVID-19 cases, with numbers still counted in the dozens or hundreds.

Nonetheless, the food agency maintains that due to their often weak economies and poor health infrastructure, they are considered highly vulnerable to the impacts of the mounting crisis.

Elisabeth Byrs, WFP Spokesperson, in a virtual media briefing, said: “WFP projections are currently that the number of food insecure people in the region is likely to increase to 34 or up to 43 million during the next three months due to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19.”

In the worst-case scenario, Byrs disclosed that “food insecurity will have more than doubled.”

Nearly half of the projected 43 million people affected were expected to be acutely food insecure, according to the UN World Food Programme.

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