Global hunger increased sharply in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a UN report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.
The UN report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 found that “9.9% of all people would have been undernourished last year, against 8.4% in 2019”.
This is an increase of about 1.5% in a single year after remaining virtually unchanged for five years.
“In 2020, between 720 and 811 million people in the world were facing hunger, or 118 million more people than in 2010 if we take into account the average of this range (768 million)”, says FAO in this report published in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UNICEF, the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
More than half of these malnourished people live in Asia (418 million), more than a third in Africa (282 million) and 8% (60 million) in Latin America.
“We see that the figures have accelerated even strongly”, said Dominique Burgeon, director in Geneva of the FAO office at the United Nations, in an interview with AFP.
Experts attributed the increase in large part to the crisis triggered by the pandemic, the effects of which would require further investigation.
According to the data, the pandemic has caused “brutal recessions” in many parts of the world and made access to food more difficult, especially in countries plagued by conflict and climatic extremes.
The largest increase in the number of hungry people has occurred in Africa, where 21 percent of the population, more than double anywhere else in the world, is undernourished.
Reaching the international community’s Zero Hunger target by 2030 now looks much more difficult, according to current forecasts.
In particular, drastic measures should be taken to eliminate inequalities in access to food.
In addition to FAO, the UNICEF Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, the Ifad Relief Fund and the World Food Program provided data for the report.