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More than 11 million people in Latin America are “going to the brink of starvation,” warns UN food chief



More than 11 million people in Latin America are “going to the brink of starvation” due to worsening economic conditions from the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the UN food agency David Beasley warned.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has just been devastating in Latin America, where clouds of economic storms were already gathering,” Beasley said in a statement released by the World Food Program (WFP) on Wednesday after his trip to Ecuador and Panama. “Families are struggling to buy basic items such as food and medicine, as livelihoods are destroyed and the number of unemployed people in the region reaches 44 million.”

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“We have seen a substantial increase in more than 11 million people moving to the brink of starvation,” he said in a video taken in Ecuador during his trip.

Before going on the trip, Beasley told CBS News that Latin America is a “time-ticking bomb.” He stressed that point when he returned, arguing that the WFP needs $ 328 million in additional funding to support relief and recovery operations in the region.

WFP spokeswoman Shaza Moghraby shared Beasley’s concerns, telling CBS News that “The visit confirmed our concern about the profound impact the pandemic will have on the lives of millions of people. ‘people and the consequences they can have on the stability of the region. “

Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to see a 269% increase in the number of people with “food insecurity” in the coming months, according to an analysis presented this week by WFP . This means that 16 million people will not know where the next meal is coming from, as long as 4.3 million years ago.

“As coronavirus cases increase, Latin America has become the region most affected by COVID-19 globally, accounting for more than a quarter of the world’s cases,” the WFP said. “The health pandemic is driving hunger and food insecurity that risks fueling political conflict and unrest and forcing vulnerable families to migrate.”

Beasley also warned that the situation is likely to be aggravated by an active hurricane season.

“You’re going to have political destabilization, mass migration, economic deterioration, disruptions in the supply chain and a lot of people will suffer in addition to COVID itself,” he said.

“You can’t just treat COVID-19 by itself or hunger alone,” he added. “They have to be treated together. If we do this right, we can save lives. If we don’t do that, people will die.”


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