Oxfam has stated that 11 people die of hunger every minute. It also informed that the number of people facing famine-like conditions around the world has increased six times over the last year.
The anti-poverty organization, in a report titled ‘The Hunger Virus Multiplies’, said on July 8, 2021, that the death toll from famine has outpaced that of COVID-19, which kills around seven people per minute.
Oxfam America’s President and CEO, Abby Maxman has said that the statistics are staggering, but we must remember that these figures are made up of individual people suffering unimaginable suffering. Even one person is too many.
Oxfam report has listed a number of countries as ‘the worst hunger hot spots’, including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, and Yemen- all embroiled in the conflict.
Increase in global food prices:
According to an Oxfam report, economic repercussions of the pandemic and global warming have caused a 40% increase in global food prices which is the highest in over a decade.
This surge in prices has significantly contributed to pushing tens of millions more people into hunger.
Military conflict behind worsening hunger problem:
The humanitarian group has stated that 155 million people around the world now live at a crisis level of food insecurity or worse which is some 20 million more than last year.
Around two-thirds of them face hunger and starvation because their country is in a military conflict.
Maxman added that today, the unrelenting conflict on top of the Coronavirus economic fallout and the worsening climate crisis, has pushed more than 5,20,000 people to the brink of starvation.
Instead of battling the pandemic, the parties involved in a war fought each other, too often landing the last blow to millions of people who were already battered by weather disasters and economic shocks.
Oxfam said that despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, global military spending has increased by $51 billion during the pandemic. It is an amount that exceeds by at least 6 times what the United Nations needs to stop hunger.
Starvation used as a weapon of war:
While talking about starvation, Maxman pointed that it has continued to be used as a weapon of war, where civilians are deprived of water, food, and humanitarian relief. Individuals can’t live safely or find food when their markets are being bombed or the crops and livestock are destroyed due to the military conflict.
What can be the solution?
The humanitarian organization has urged the governments of the disturbed regions to stop the conflict from continuing to spawn ‘catastrophic hunger’. It has also asked to ensure that the global relief agencies are able to operate in the conflict zones and reach those in need.
The organization called on the donor countries to immediately and completely fund the United Nations’ efforts to abolish hunger all over the world.