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Millions on brink of starvation

More than 250 NGOs have urgently called on international governments to increase aid and save more than 34 million people on the brink of starvation this year. Prominent NGO’s include Oxfam, Save the Children, and the International Rescue Committee.

The Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies condemns this state of affairs. The right to life, to speak, to think, to participate, and women’s rights are impossible to achieve in a world with ever-growing disparities. The Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report estimated that the world’s richest 1 percent, own 44 percent of the world’s wealth. These inequalities have been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. Oxfam has estimated that global billionaire wealth has increased by $3.9 trillion during the pandemic. By contrast, the International Labour Organization estimatd that global workers earnings fell by $3.7 trillion, as millions lost their jobs.

The world is going towards further food insecurity, with a greater risk of famine. At the end of last year, the UN estimated that 270 million people were either at high risk of, or already facing, severe levels of hunger. Some 174 million people in 58 countries have reached that level and are at risk of dying from malnutrition or lack of food, the groups said. According to the statement, this has been caused by a combination of conflict, climate change and inequality, coupled with the COVID-19 crisis. They warned that this figure will likely increase in the coming months if no actions are taken and noted that conflict is the biggest driver of global hunger. For example, key conflicts in Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria are forcing millions to the brink of starvation.

Furthermore, aid efforts have been lagging behind expectations. The aid groups noted that a year on since the UN warned of “famine of biblical proportions”, donors have only funded five percent of this year’s $7.8bn food security appeal. The statement said that the amount of additional funding called for by the UN’s World Food Programme amounts to $5.5bn, which is equivalent to less than 26 hours of the $1.9 trillion that countries spend per year on the military. While at least $5.5bn is needed in urgent food and agricultural assistance to avert the imminent risk of famine, millions more is needed to provide health care, clean water and other essential, basic services.

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