ROME, Italy, July 25, 2020/ — Highlights
As the spread of COVID-19 accelerates from rich to poor countries, the first ever joint FAO-WFP early warning analysis of acute food insecurity hotspots highlights 25 countries at risk of significant food security deterioration, and particularly acute hunger and associated malnutrition. The analysis accounts for all major drivers of food insecurity, with a focus on the secondary socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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In Lebanon, the fallout of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc, with recent reports indicating that up to 70 percent of the population may not have the means to feed themselves. In Yemen, escalating conflict, free-falling currency and the coronavirus are driving a rapid deterioration in the humanitarian situation, threatening to push many more people into acute hunger. In South Sudan, COVID-19 is compounding numerous existing problems – conflict, macroeconomic challenges, localized flooding and a desert locust invasion while at the same time overlapping with the peak of the May-July lean season.
WFP is sustaining critical assistance, scaling up to meet new needs and supporting governments and partners as COVID-19 accelerates in WFP’s main countries of operation and needs peak between July and September. Globally, Needs-Based Plans have increased by US$ 1.7 billion (27 percent) for July to December, with the biggest relative increases seen in Latin America and the Caribbean, Southern Africa, in the focus area of crisis response and utilizing the cash-based transfer modality.
The July Update to the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) now stands at US$ 10.3 billion for life-saving aid — the largest appeal in UN history — and reflects much of WFP requirements to deliver food assistance to the millions around the world facing severe hunger this year, as well as US$ 965 million for WFP global Common Services. The GHRP combines COVID-19 appeals and inputs from UN agencies, other international organizations and NGOs with humanitarian mandates.
Critical funding needs for WFP Common Services remain, as the health and humanitarian staff strive to stay and deliver. While lower costs and efficiencies have allowed the services to be stretched further, funding remains vital. As only 20 percent of overall requirements have been funded to date, if significant new funding is not received urgently, these critical services will grind to a halt.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley is travelling in Latin America this week, where WFP assessments project an alarming 269 percent increase in severe hunger due to COVID-19 unless immediate action is taken. The Executive Director will visit WFP operations in Ecuador. While in Panama, he will meet with government leaders, partners and staff to get the latest first-hand information from the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.