The Red Cross is concerned about the rapidly rising global food shortage. 690 million people have a serious shortage of food due to a combination of natural and climate disasters, conflicts and coronacrisis. The aid organization has therefore opened Giro 5125 to raise money.
The Red Cross is based on figures from the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “We are seeing an accumulation of disasters,” says Marieke van Schaik, director of the Red Cross.
“ Hundreds of millions of people worldwide do not have enough or insufficient nutritious food. In addition to natural violence and conflicts that cause food shortages, the coronacrisis also causes people to lose their jobs in several countries. Either there is no food available, or people simply don‘t have money to buy food.”
Africa badly affected
Especially in African countries such as Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan there is a shortage of food, but also in Yemen there is a lot of hunger. Last year, the International Red Cross conducted research in ten African countries on the impact of the coronacrisis on food prices.
94 percent of the 2400 surveyed, saw a rise in prices. And 82 percent lost part of the income because of the crisis. “We see that people who are balancing on the verge of their existence are now really in trouble and are immediately threatened in their primary need for life: food,” says Van Schaik. Insufficient nutritious food is also bad for people’s health and makes them more vulnerable to diseases.”
In South Sudan and Ethiopia harvests have been destroyed by floods and subsequent drought. There are also plagues of locusts and armed conflicts in Ethiopia. According to health workers, there is severe malnutrition in the Tigray region, where violence flared up. There are at least 2.6 million people in need of humanitarian aid, especially with food.
Food shortage also in the Netherlands
The Red Cross sees that even in the Netherlands, although the problems of a different order, more and more people find it difficult to eat. In October last year, the aid organization estimated that some 25,000 people in the Netherlands needed food aid.
Over 86,000 shopping cards were handed out last year. With such a card, people who are not eligible for other food aid can go to the supermarket.
“ These are, for example, migrant workers or undocumented people,” says a spokesman. “On such a card there is an amount depending on the size of the household.” In addition, almost 30,000 food packages were distributed in the Netherlands in 2020.