Latin America crisis with millions at risk of food insecurity


ROME – The socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean could potentially leave around 14 million vulnerable people in severe food insecurity in 2020, amounting to an increase of 10 million people since 2019, according to projections by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) who launched the #MissingThisMeal campaign on Thursday, World Hunger day.

  “The WFP projection is based on the comparison between food security assessments carried out in 2019, an analysis of economic indicators after the COVID-19 outbreak, and the results of remote surveys completed in 2020 to assess the pandemic's impact on markets access, food security, and livelihoods,” read the press statement.  

  “It is vital and urgent that we provide food assistance to the growing number of vulnerable people in the region, as well as those who depend on informal work,” said Miguel Barreto, WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

  The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has forecast a deep regional economic contraction this year, which will aggravate the already vulnerable disproportionately, as movement restrictions and stay-at-home orders make it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

  In 2019, WFP supported governments in the region by implementing programmes that reached 5.1 million vulnerable people with cash-based transfers and food.

  The UN agency urged countries in their press release to provide additional support and expand their coverage to more groups, such as migrants and people without formal employment. 

  “Working together, we can minimize the risk of food insecurity and protect the most vulnerable countries and communities from the potentially devastating effects of the pandemic,” said Mr. Barreto.