WFP estimates that 271.8 million people in countries where it operates are acutely food insecure or directly at risk of becoming so due to the aggravating effect of the COVID-19 crisis. At a regional level, increases in food insecurity are observed in the Middle East, Asia, and in particular, Latin America and the Caribbean where hunger has quadrupled in the countries where WFP operates.
WFP has published a November update to its Global Response to COVID-19 plan. WFP has scaled up to reach 97 million people in the first nine months of 2020 – almost the same amount of people as all of 2019. This is an increase of 14 million people compared to the middle of 2020, demonstrating WFP’s ability to adapt its programmes in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other complex emergencies.
A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, a near-40 percent increase on 2020 which is almost entirely from COVID-19, according to the newly published Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2021. The overview sets out plans to reach 160 million of the most vulnerable people in 56 countries and if fully financed, will cost US$ 35 billion. The fourth Progress Report for the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 has also been published; going forward, COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 humanitarian responses are reflected together in the GHO 2021.
WFP’s Corporate Alert System has been updated, highlighting countries and sub-regions where low resource levels, important life-saving needs, and COVID-19 intersect with compounding risks in the next six months. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Ethiopia – especially now with the exacerbated tensions in the Tigray region – have been elevated to corporate strategic attention. Other countries that continue to be featured at the highest level are Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Central Sahel, Mozambique and the Central African Republic.
A joint WFP-IOM report has found global hunger and population displacement - both already at record levels when COVID-19 struck - could surge as people on the move and those reliant on a dwindling flow of remittances desperately seek work to support their families. The study explores the impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods, food security and protection of migrant workers households dependent on remittances and the forcibly displaced.
Since the onset of the pandemic, WFP’s needs have grown considerably and are outpacing available funding. To meet needs until April 2021, US$ 3.7 billion is required; against this appeal, US$ 395 million has been confirmed to date. Funding gaps and shortfalls are forcing WFP to implement ration cuts and/or reduce the number of people it reaches. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country with the world’s largest burden of hunger, refugees have been receiving only 75 percent of their food needs due to shortfalls.