Food insecurity could more than double in just three months as the spread of Coronavirus risks devastating countries across East Africa.
The warning came from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) which estimates that some 20 million people currently do not have secure provisions of food across nine countries in the region: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.
The novel virus’s outbreak in these countries has been so far relatively contained compared to other parts of the world.
However, due to their often weak economies and poor health infrastructure, they are considered highly vulnerable to the impacts of the mounting crisis that has seen more than 212,000 people die.
“WFP projections are currently that the number of food-insecure people in the region is likely to increase to 34 or up to 43 million during the next three months due to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19,” Spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told journalists in a virtual briefing.
In the worst-case scenario, “food insecurity will have more than doubled”, she stressed, adding that nearly half of the projected 43 million people affected were expected to be acutely food insecure.