The pandemic has deepened the hunger crisis in the world’s poorest areas
The knock-on effects of Covid-19 are more widespread than the virus itself, pushing millions of the world's poorest people to the brink of hunger and poverty.
Up to 12,000 people could die every day from hunger linked to Covid-19, the humanitarian group Oxfam warned on Thursday.
Its report "The Hunger Virus" said declining aid, mass unemployment, and disruption to food production and supplies as a result of the pandemic could push an estimated 121 million people deeper into starvation this year.
The Oxfam report also reveals in some of the world's worst hunger "hot spots," including Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and South Sudan, the food crisis is worsening because of border and supply route closures or a big drop in remittances as a result of Covid-19.
It also says middle-income countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa are "emerging epicentres of hunger" now with millions being tipped over the edge.
Oxfam said women, and women-headed households, are more likely to go hungry because they make up a large part of hard-hit groups such as informal workers and also have borne the brunt of an increase in unpaid care work as a result of school closures and family illness.
The charity also claims eight of the biggest food and beverage firms paid out over $18 billion to shareholders this year – ten times more than the UN says is needed to stop people going hungry.
"Governments can save lives now by fully funding the UN's Covid-19 appeal, making sure aid gets to those who need it most, and cancelling the debts of developing countries to free up funding for social protection and healthcare," Oxfam's Interim Executive Director Chema Vera said.
"To end this hunger crisis, governments must also build fairer, more robust, and more sustainable food systems that put the interests of food producers and workers before the profits of big food and agribusiness."