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20 Apr, 2021 12:06

Covid pandemic puts 34 million ‘on the very edge of famine’: 250 NGOs demand international intervention

Covid pandemic puts 34 million ‘on the very edge of famine’: 250 NGOs demand international intervention

A group of more than 250 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has warned that the world is “likely to face multiple famines” if governments do not act to tackle the “acute food insecurity situation” sparked by the Covid pandemic.

In an open letter, the Global NGO Network for Principled and Effective Humanitarian Action called on states and their leaders to ensure humanitarian access and step up financial aid to fight the causes of growing inequality, warning of the scale of the situation.

The group of NGOs declared that, in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Venezuela and Yemen, “every day, we bear witness to suffering and resilience,” putting at least 34 million individuals, including young children, “a step away from famine.”

 Conflict, climate change and inequality, coupled with the Covid-19 crisis, have led to an acute food insecurity situation around the world.

Immediately, the open letter calls for an extra $5.5 billion in funding to bolster food assistance work in the regions of concern, “without diverting resources from meeting other pressing humanitarian needs.”

In the long term, the group demands greater work to end conflicts that destabilize regions, increase sustainability to protect against climate change, and work to rebound from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

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This is not the first time that an international group has called for greater action on this front, with the UN having previously warned of a “famine of biblical proportions” if poorer nations are not given the support they need to combat and recover from Covid. In response to that call, the UN only managed to raise 5% of its food security appeal from donors.

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