Tuesday, July 13, 2021

188 Million Cases and the Hunger Crisis

There is no respite for the world. The Covid caseload is now 188 million. 

And the Delta variant is fueling an alarming surge in cases. So much so that multiple EU member states are maintaining or re-imposing Covid restrictions. 

Already, experts have said the Delta variant could account for 70% of all cases in Europe by early next month, rising to 90% by the beginning of September. 

But besides sickness and possibly death, Covid brings with it another crisis. 

The number of people who did not have enough food to eat rose steeply during the Covid-19 pandemic to include almost a third of the world, according to a UN report published on Monday. 

Five UN agencies said the number of people without access to healthy diets grew by 320 million last year to nearly 2.37 billion people – more than the increases in the previous five years combined. The number of people who went hungry grew by about 161 million last year to 811 million. 

The said report by five UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad); the UN children’s fund, Unicef; the World Food Program; and the World Health Organization – said the effects of the pandemic on nutrition were still being counted, but levels of impaired growth and development among children are expected to increase because of the pandemic. An estimated 22% of children under five are considered to be stunted. 

Gilbert Houngbo (left), president of Ifad, blamed the crisis on the failure in the food system. 

“It is clear that, unfortunately, the pandemic continues to expose weaknesses in our food system, which threaten the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, particularly the most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by conflict, climate change and inequality”, he said. 

Jean-Michel Grand (right), director of Action Against Hunger UK, said: “Every year global hunger levels rise and every year it seems the international community kicks the can further down the road. What percentage of the world’s population needs to be going hungry before governments start to take this issue seriously? Will we have to wait until famines are widespread? Because this is an inevitable consequence if we continue to mishandle and underfund this issue”. 

Undeniably, this hunger crunch is hitting Malaysia too. Food banks and the ‘white flag’ initiative as well as the many individuals who on the quiet, go out of their way to supply food and/or essentials to the have-nots indicate that many Malaysians are suffering. 

Indeed, our backdoor government have failed Malaysians again and again. They just love to shoot themselves in the foot umpteen times. In fact, incompetence and political expediency are their badges of dis-honor! 

#KerajaanBodoh #KerajaanGagal

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