WFP’s new Global Response to COVID-19 plan (June 2020) was released this week, detailing the dire global needs, WFP’s response, and the significant requirements to sustain and scale up operations due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. To tackle the rising tide of hunger, WFP will undertake its biggest humanitarian response in history, reaching up to 138 million people in 2020, up from a record 97 million in 2019.
According to WFP’s new estimates, 270 million people could be acutely food insecure by the year’s end in the countries where WFP operates – an 82 percent increase from before the pandemic – including 121 million people driven into severe hunger from the fallout of COVID-19. “The frontline in the battle against the coronavirus is shifting from the rich world to the poor world,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley in the news release about the plan. “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos. Without it, we could see increased social unrest and protests, a rise in migration, deepening conflict and widespread under-nutrition among populations that were previously immune from hunger.” The fallout from COVID-19 is being felt hardest in Latin America and the Caribbean, where needs are projected to rise 269 percent, and in West and Central Africa, where the pandemic’s compounding effects could drive 57.5 million people into acute food insecurity. In particular, urban communities in low- and middle-income countries are being dragged into hunger by job losses and a precipitous drop in remittances.
WFP is appealing for US$ 4.9 billion to sustain and scale up its life-saving work across 83 operations for the next six months. Sustained funding is urgently required to respond to the immediate consequences of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable, and support governments and partners as they curb the spread of the disease and deal with the fallout from the pandemic.
This represents 62 percent of the total budget required through the end of 2020, including an additional US$ 1.7 billion in COVID-19 scale-up requirements, with 94 percent dedicated to crisis response.
The logistical backbone of the global COVID-19 response, WFP’s Common Services risks grinding to a halt by mid-July if an immediate injection of funds is not received. WFP’s Common Services transport humanitarian and health cargo and passengers to where they’re needed most through a network of hubs, air links and medevac services. Against the US$ 965 million requirement for 2020, to date, only US$ 142 million has been received.