Food Poverty: Coronavirus

Department for International Development written question – answered on 22nd July 2020.

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to the briefing by Oxfam The hunger virus: how COVID-19 is fuelling hunger in a hungry world, published on 12 July, on potential deaths from hunger globally caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK is concerned about food security in 2020. At the end of last year, 135 million people were facing acute food insecurity in 55 countries. This is set to increase, driven partly by COVID-19. We are working with international partners to monitor the situation and have adapted our social protection, agriculture and food security programmes, to support the most vulnerable.

In Yemen, food insecurity is increasing, substantially impacted by COVID-19 and ongoing conflict. Food prices have risen by 15% since the start of the year. In response, UK aid is supporting at least 300,000 vulnerable people each month to help buy food and treat 40,000 children for malnutrition.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, people experiencing acute food insecurity has increased from 15.6 million in 2019, to approximately 19.5 million in 2020. We are at the forefront of the humanitarian response, and our £262 million humanitarian programme will have provided lifesaving assistance to over 3 million people over 3 years.

In Afghanistan, an estimated 12.4 million people are facing ‘crisis’ or ‘emergency’ levels of food insecurity. DFID is working to provide life-saving support through the Multi-year Humanitarian Response Programme and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, to support the COVID-19 response. This will enable responders to implement the most urgent parts of the WHO plan, and provide vital water, sanitation and food assistance.

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