'Famines of biblical proportions' feared in 2021 amid COVID-19 pandemic, UN food agency warned this past Monday.I am NOT exactly a fan of the UN anything, but what was said was spot on.
The head of the World Food Program says the Nobel Peace Prize has given the U.N. agency a spotlight and megaphone to warn world leaders that next year is going to be worse than this year, and "we are going to have famines of biblical proportions in 2021."
Beasley pointed to the news being dominated by the U.S. elections and the COVID-19 pandemic, and the difficulty of getting global attention focused on "the travesty that we're facing around the world."
Beasley recalled his warning to the U.N. Security Council in April that as the world was dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it was also "on the brink of a hunger pandemic" that could lead to "multiple famines of biblical proportions"
"We were able to avert it in 2020 ... because the world leaders responded with money, stimulus packages, deferral of debt," he said.
Now, Beasley said, COVID-19 is surging again, economies are continuing to deteriorate and there is another wave of lockdowns and shutdowns.
But he said the money that was available in 2020 isn't going to be available in 2021, so he has been using the Nobel to meet leaders virtually and in person, talk to parliaments, and give speeches to sensitize those with power to "this tragedy that we are facing -- crises that really are going to be extraordinary over the next, who knows, 12 to 18 months."
"Everybody now wants to meet with the Nobel Peace Prize winner," Beasley said, explaining he now gets 45 minutes instead of 15 minutes with leaders and is able to go into depth and explain how bad things are going to be next year"
"Those are important things," Beasley said, but he likened the upcoming crisis to the Titanic saying "right now, we really need to focus on icebergs, and icebergs are famine, starvation, destabilization and migration."
He said in Wednesday's virtual interview from Rome, where WFP is based, that while famine was averted this year, the number of people facing crisis levels of hunger is increasing toward 270 million.
"We're very, very, very concerned" that with deferred debt payments for low- and middle-income countries resuming in January, new lockdowns and the rippling economic impact, "2021's going to be a very bad year," Beasley said.
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