United Nations (AP) – The head of the World Food Program says that the Nobel Peace Prize has given the UN agency a spotlight and megaphone to warn world leaders that next year is going to be worse than this year , And we are going to have a famine of biblical proportions in 2021 without billions of dollars. “
David Beasley said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Norwegian Nobel Committee was looking at the work that the agency does every day in conflicts, disasters and refugee camps, often risking the lives of employees to feed millions of hungry people Puts – but also “to send a message to the world that it is getting spoiled there … (and) that our hardest work is yet to be done.”
Bicele said of last month’s award, “It was a long time since we used to say about the award of previous elections, this news is dominating the US elections and the COVID-19 epidemic, and the global focus Having difficulty doing. ” “On the crisis we are facing in the world.”
“So it was really a gift from above,” Beazley said, recalling the surprise and delight of the WFP’s 20,000 employees worldwide, and with the news of being interrupted during a meeting in Niger in the Sahel region of Africa Your shock.
Beasley recalled his warning to the United Nations Security Council in April, saying that as the world was dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it was “on the verge of a hunger pandemic” that within a few months “biblical proportions of Could give rise to “famines”. No immediate action was taken.
“We were able to avoid it in 2020 … because world leaders responded with money, incentive packages, rejection of loans,” he said.
Now, Beasley said, COVID-19 is growing again, economies are deteriorating, especially in low and middle-income countries, and there is another wave of lockdowns and shutdowns.
But he said that the money that was available in 2020 is not going to be available in 2021, so he is using Nobel to meet and personally meet leaders, talk to parliaments and make speeches. The tragedy we are facing – the crisis that is really going to be extraordinary on the next, who knows, 12 to 18 months. “
“Everyone wants to meet with the Nobel Peace Prize winner now,” said Beasley, explaining that he now gets 45 minutes instead of 15 minutes with the leaders and is able to go deeper and explain that next year How bad things are going to happen and how leader programs have to be prioritized. “And the response has been really good,” he said.
“I’m telling them that you don’t have enough money for all the projects historically funded.”
“Those are important things,” Beasley said, but comparing the ensuing crisis to Titanic, “Right now, we really need to focus on the icebergs, and the icebergs are famine, starvation, instability and migration.”
Beasley said WFP needed $ 15 billion – $ 5 billion next year only for famine and $ 10 billion to carry out the agency’s global programs for malnourished children and school lunches that often provide only food to young people is.
“If I can get coupled with my normal money, we average famines around the world” and reduce volatility as well as migration. he said.
In addition to raising additional funds from governments, Beazley said, his other “great hope” is that billionaires who have made billions during the COVID-19 epidemic will step in on a time basis. He began planning to carry this message forward in December or January.
In April, Beasley said 135 million people faced “levels of hunger crisis or worse”. A WFP analysis showed that COVID = 19 could push an additional 130 million people “to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.”
He said in a virtual interview from Rome on Wednesday, where the WFP is based, that during the famine this year, the number of people experiencing a level of hunger crisis is rising to 270 million.
“There are about three dozen countries that could possibly enter a state of famine if we don’t have the money we need,” said Beasley.
According to a joint analysis in October by the WFP and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 20 countries are “likely to face potential spikes in high acute food insecurity over the next three to six months,” and require immediate attention. . “
Among them, Yemen, South Sudan, Northeast Nigeria and Burkina Faso have some areas that “have reached a critical hunger situation after years of conflict or other setbacks,” UN agencies said, and in the coming months. Any further decline can lead to one. Threat of famine
Other countries in need are Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somali, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
Bisley said a COVID-19 vaccine would “create some optimism that is expected to help economies around the world, especially Western economies, jump in. But the WFP executive director said that $ 17 billion has already been raised this year. Has an economic stimulus and we will not do so globally.
“We are very, very, very worried” that debt payments, new lockdowns and rotten economic impact, resumed in January for low-middle and middle-income countries, “2021 is going to be a very bad year.” , “Bailey said.