The COVID-19 pandemic is making the poorest poorer, and the hungriest hungrier. WFP is mobilising to meet the needs of up to 138 million people in 2020 — including by scaling up to assist over 750,000 people with multi-purpose cash, cash-for-food or e-card assistance in Lebanon; expanding to provide cash assistance for 279,000 people in Nairobi’s informal settlements in Kenya; and providing food assistance for returnees and deportees in quarantine at border areas in Ethiopia.
As coronavirus cases soar, Latin America has become the region most impacted by COVID-19 globally, accounting for over a quarter of the world’s cases. WFP Executive Director David Beasley, who visited Ecuador and Panama and spoke to other leaders in Latin America during the last week in July, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has just been devastating in Latin America, where the economic storm clouds were already gathering. Families are struggling to buy basics like food and medicine, as livelihoods are destroyed and the number of people out of work in the region hits 44 million. It’s a deadly combination and we’ve got to act now, and we’ve got to be smart. You can’t just deal with COVID-19 by itself or hunger by itself. They must be dealt with together. If we do it right, we can save lives. If we don’t do it right, people will die.”
Tackling the rising tide of hunger requires the biggest humanitarian response in WFP’s history. This unprecedented crisis requires an unprecedented response. WFP is appealing for US$ 4.9 billion until the end of 2020 to carry out this life-saving work in 83 countries. As of 5 August, WFP has received US$ 440 million, representing only 9 percent of the total.
WFP’s Common Services have provided over 1,300 passenger and cargo flights to destinations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East since launching in May – with more than 16,500 humanitarian and health responders from over 288 organizations flown to destinations where their assistance is urgently needed. Cargo and passenger services have reached 159 countries so far, more than 80 percent of the world. However, only 21 percent of WFP’s US$ 965 million requirement for Common Services in 2020 has been received, meaning the services will grind to a halt if no additional funding is received.