Conflict and COVID-19 Push Millions to Brink of Famine

 Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen
 AdvocacyFood Security,
 18th Nov 2020

Photo: A woman in Yemen prepares food in April 2019. ©Mohammed Almahdi/CARE

(November 18th, 2020) -- CARE today released its report “Sometimes We Don’t Even Eat- How Conflict and COVID-19 Are Pushing Millions of People to the Brink,” revealing a surge of life-threatening hunger in conflict zones during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The number of people experiencing serious food insecurity is projected to double over the course of 2020,” says CARE USA President & CEO Michelle Nunn. “This report provides evidence on how profoundly the contraction of food and resources is impacting the 2 billion people living in fragile areas affected by armed conflict around the world.”

The report further reveals how conflict heightens food insecurity and causes the barriers to food production and processing due to violence destroying crops, livestock and essential infrastructure. Conflict zones also have decreased accessibility so people and goods are unable to reach markets, causing food prices to skyrocket due to diminishing supply.

“Girls and women living with hunger and conflict are more likely to experience violence, transactional sex, and early and forced marriage. They are more likely to have their education interrupted and less likely to be able to resume their schooling,” says Nunn.  “If we are going to prevent famine, national governments, non-profits, and the humanitarian sector must work together to address both the causes of conflict and food insecurity, as well as the ways in which women and girls are uniquely affected.”

Integrated Phase Classification (IPC), United Nations, and World Food Programme predictions assume the humanitarian sector will be able to maintain their food assistance programming at comparable capacity to past food crises. In the age of COVID-19, that’s tragically just not the case. To date, donors have provided just 42% of the funding needed for 2020, compared with 63% in all of 2019. This pandemic compounded with a dearth of funding will undoubtedly be deadly.

CARE is calling on the U.S. government to provide at least $20 billion in further supplemental funding to respond to COVID-19 internationally to address food insecurity and other pandemic-related vulnerabilities.

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