The United Nations is raising the alarm over the risks of widespread famines in the coming year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the executive in charge of the organization’s World Food Program said Monday.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley said in April the coronavirus could cause famines in parts of the developing world, unless world leaders work to avert them.
“We were able to avert it in 2020,” Beasley told The Associated Press, adding, unless developing nations receive billions in funding, “we are going to have famines of biblical proportions in 2021.”
Beasley noted, although most nations managed to provide funds and stimulus programs to stave-off the worst case scenario, the current spike in cases could cause famines in almost three dozen countries next year. Yemen, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, and Nigeria are particularly at-risk, according to Beasley.
He added his organization would need about $15 billion to prevent famine and complete the WFP’s currently existing efforts.
“If I could get that coupled with our normal money, then we avert famine around the world,” Beasley told the AP.
Beasley, appointed by President Donald Trump, won the Nobel Peace Prize last month.