In 2020, conflict, climate change and the socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19 drove human suffering to a staggering scale. Today, the outlook is even more concerning as more than 30 million people face emergency levels of food insecurity in 41 countries. An estimated 270 million people are in acute food insecurity, or at risk, across 79 countries where WFP operates.
In nearly all countries where WFP has real-time monitoring, reliance on negative livelihoods-based coping has increased through 2020. The social and economic fallout of the pandemic is expected to drive an additional 6.7 million children to suffer acute malnutrition, increasing the risk of child mortality by an expected 10,000 deaths per month.
The situation requires urgent action to avert catastrophe and protect past gains in strengthening community resilience. This means:
- Scaling up life-saving food and nutrition assistance to prevent and mitigate famine and ensure that those further behind can meet their essential needs in periods of crisis;
- Reinforcing integrated community-based resilience to promote recovery including through climate-smart asset development, sustainable livelihood opportunities, smallholder farmer value chains, and the safe return of children to school; and
- Investing in, and strengthening, long-term systems recovery, leveraging successful initiatives from 2020 to build back better from the pandemic by supporting national social protection systems, food systems, and supply chains.
As of January, WFP’s 2021 approved Programme of Work stands at US$13.5 billion for more than 109 million beneficiaries. However, securing the US$4.2 billion funding gap in the coming six months (February to July 2021) is of immediate urgency. Timely, flexible funding is of the essence to support the millions of refugees, conflict-affected people, and migrants who are already receiving half or less of the rations they need to survive.