Anti-poverty organisation Oxfam said that 11 people die of hunger each minute and that the number facing famine-like conditions around the globe has increased six times over the last year. In a report titled “The Hunger Virus Multiplies,” Oxfam said that the death toll from famine outpaces that of COVID-19, which kills around seven people per minute.
The humanitarian group also said that 155 million people around the world are now living in crisis levels of food insecurity or worse — some 20 million more than last year. Around two thirds of them face hunger because their country is in military conflict.
Despite the pandemic, Oxfam said that global military spending increased by $51 billion during the pandemic — an amount that exceeds by at least six times what the U.N. needs to stop hunger.
The report listed a number of countries as “the worst hunger hotspots” including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — all embroiled in conflict.
The organisation urged governments to stop conflicts from continuing to spawn “catastrophic hunger” and to ensure that relief agencies could operate in conflict zones and reach those in need. It also called on donor countries to “immediately and fully” fund the U.N.’s efforts to alleviate hunger.
Meanwhile, global warming and the economic repercussions of the pandemic have caused a 40% increase in global food prices, the highest in over a decade. This surge has contributed significantly to pushing tens of millions more people into hunger, said the report.