(NEW YORK POST) – What’s next, rivers of blood?
The coronavirus plague could spur “multiple famines of biblical proportions” across the world if urgent action isn’t taken now, a UN official said this week.
World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley delivered the warning to the UN Security Council Tuesday.
“Forgive me for speaking bluntly, but I’d like to lay out for you very clearly what the world is facing at this very moment,” Beasley said. “At the same time while dealing with a COVID-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic.”
Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations are being “pushed to the brink of starvation” amid the crisis, with famine “a very real and dangerous possibility,” he said.
The World Food Program had already warned that 135 million people across the world are facing “crisis levels of hunger or worse” — but their updated projections during the pandemic nearly double that number.
That’s in addition to the 821 million people already chronically hungry, Beasley said.
Lockdowns and economic recessions will likely lead to a major loss of income among the working poor, he said.
The situation is most concerning in countries across Africa and the Middle East, “because the virus threatens further damage to the lives and livelihoods of people already put at risk by conflict,” Beasley said.
“In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries, and in fact, in 10 of these countries we already have more than one million people per country who are on the verge of starvation,” he told the council.
While there are no famines at this point, Beasley said preparedness is key.
“I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade. We could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months,” he said.
“I do believe that with our expertise and partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programs necessary to make certain the COVID-19 pandemic does not become a humanitarian and food crisis catastrophe.”