Hunger is now killing more people than COVID-19

Sep 28, 2021
3-MINUTE READ
Every minute, hunger kills 11 people compared to seven COVID-19 deaths, according to a study by John Hopkins University.*
 
In Canada, we’ve gotten used to seeing daily counts of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the news, but globally, the story is even bleaker. A recent World Vision report found that since the pandemic was declared, soaring food prices combined with lockdown-induced job losses and disrupted nutrition services have made healthy food out-of-reach for 3 billion people. The report warns that 250 more children could die every day by 2022 from hunger because of COVID-19 aftershocks.

In May 2020, global food prices reached their highest levels in a decade —in some places increasing by more than 50%. For example, the cost of bananas now equals 58% of an average daily wage in South Sudan. In Canadian terms, that bunch of bananas would cost about $125.
 
You may be feeling a bit of the impact of price increases on your own grocery bill. Food prices in Canada have risen 4.8%, making it harder for some Canadians to buy healthy food.
 
But for poorer countries already dealing with conflict or climate-related disasters, this price increase means malnutrition and starvation for many families. The impact has been greatest in places such as Syria, East Africa and Myanmar, according to the World Vision report.
 
“The aftershocks of COVID-19 are exacting a greater toll than the virus itself,” says Lindsay Gladding, Director of the Fragile & Humanitarian programs team at World Vision Canada. “Food insecurity combined with the impact of conflict and climate change has created the perfect storm–leading to what could be the worst hunger crisis in generations.”

Children suffer the most.

Children are suffering more than adults because they:
  • Have a greater need for nutrients
  • Become under-nourished faster
  • Are at a much higher risk of dying from starvation
  • Endure long-term consequences on brain development due to malnutrition
The suffering doesn’t end with malnutrition. Hungry families are often forced to resort to desperate measures such as child marriage and child labour to put food on the table.

It’s time to act

World Vision’s response to the hunger crisis, has already reached 12 million of the world’s most vulnerable people in 29 countries with food and nutrition in 2020 alone. World Vision is now calling on governments and donors to do everything in their power to respond to the impacts of food price increases and support the world’s most vulnerable who are worst impacted.
 
While COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on our economy in Canada, many of us are still in a position to help those suffering disproportionately because of the pandemic and the related food price increases.

Learn more about how you can help.

More stories for you

Mohamad Fakih: Why Kindness is Paramount World Vision Canada CEO Michael Messenger talks to Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, about World Food Day and building community.
Hunger and malnutrition: a challenge for mothers everywhere Around the world, millions of mothers watch their children go hungry, while they themselves go without proper meals - sometimes through sacrifice, but often by order. Find out why and what World Vision is doing to change that.
Tony Rinaudo: Forest maker, famine fighter Tony Rinaudo, World Vision’s chief climate action advisor, sees the hunger crisis unfolding in East Africa as a chance to implement long-term environmental solutions that could eliminate famine completely.