GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - The World Food Program warns the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to boost the number of hungry people in the Middle East and North African region to more than 47 million, an increase of more than 6.7 million from current figures.
This region has been mired in conflict, political instability and economic problems for years. COVID-19 is compounding these difficulties. U.N. agencies warn fragile and dysfunctional governments in the Middle East and North Africa are ill-equipped to deal with the pandemic and its impact.
The World Food Program’s Global Report on Food Crises notes 20 percent of people around the world suffering from acute food shortages are to be found in the Middle East.
WFP spokeswoman, Elisabeth Byrs said the report predicts the pandemic will increase extreme hunger and that many more people in the region will struggle to feed themselves as their means of livelihood disappear.
“With little to no savings, no unemployment insurance, and reduced food subsidies, people who engage in subsistence or informal work to support their families cannot endure sustained lockdowns. Many of the people receiving food assistance rely on it for their survival,” she said.
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