Pandemic Threatens to Kill More From Hunger Than Infection
A person pushes a shopping cart full of water containers in front of makeshift homes in the Petare neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, on June 13, 2020. (Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg)

Pandemic Threatens to Kill More From Hunger Than Infection


Hunger caused by pandemic disruptions may kill more people daily than deaths caused by the coronavirus itself at its peak, the Oxfam advocacy group warned.

As many as 12,000 hunger-related deaths might occur each day by the end of the year as a result of the social and economic fallout from the pandemic, Oxfam said in a report published Thursday. That would exceed the peak mortality rate from Covid-19 reached in April of just over 10,000 a day, the charity group said, citing data from Johns Hopkins University.

Mass unemployment, disruptions to food supplies and declining aid are contributing to hunger during the pandemic, Oxfam said.

The number of people lacking adequate access to nutrition surged worldwide by almost 70% over the past four years because of climate change, conflict and socioeconomic shocks, and could increase another 82% to 270 million by year’s end, the World Food Program said in a separate report last month.

“Governments must contain the spread of this deadly disease, but it is equally vital they take action to stop the pandemic killing as many -- if not more -- people from hunger,” said Chema Vera, Oxfam’s interim executive director.

Oxfam cited countries including Yemen, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Ethiopia as extreme hunger hotspots. Women and households headed by women are likely to bear the brunt of the crisis, it said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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