The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) fears that the Corona pandemic could double the number of people in West Africa who cannot feed enough without help from just over 21 million to 43 million between June and August. The number of significantly malnourished children under the age of five could rise from 8.2 million in this period last year to twelve million, said WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs in Geneva.
“Covid-19 is threatening to become another component of the poison cocktail that has already led to greater hunger and malnutrition in West Africa with armed conflicts, displacements and the consequences of climate change,” Byers warned.
Many people who lived from hand to mouth would have lost their jobs because of the restrictions imposed by measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Food supplies were soon depleted before the next harvest season in September, many markets were only functioning sporadically and supplies were not secured due to restrictions on freedom of movement.
If people were let down, it would fuel unrest in a region where violent extremism has already spread. The WFP therefore needs an additional 574 million dollars (530 million euros) to care for the people of West Africa.
According to previous WFP projections, the number of people in need of nutrition is expected to rise from 130 million in 2019 to 265 million this year.