The number of people facing acute food insecurity could nearly double this year to 265 million due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.
The impact of lost tourism revenues, falling remittances and travel and other restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic are expected to leave some 130 million people acutely hungry this year, adding to around 135 million already in that category.
“COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread,” said Arif Husain, chief economist and director of research, assessment and monitoring at the World Food Programme (WFP).
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have hit nearly 2.5 million globally.
Businesses are coping with lost revenue and disrupted supply chains as factory shutdowns and quarantine measures spread across the globe, restricting movement and commerce.
Unemployment is skyrocketing, while policymakers across countries race to implement fiscal and monetary measures to alleviate the financial burden on citizens and shore up economies under severe strain.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 9 April said the coronavirus pandemic had instigated an economic downturn the likes of which the world has not experienced since the Great Depression.
On 15 April, the IMF warned economies in Asia would see no growth this year, for the first time in 60 years, with the service sector particularly under pressure.