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UN warns of food shortage as COVID-19 disrupts supply chains

News Agencies | Updated on: 13 April 2020, 21:37 IST
United Nations

The United Nations' (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its report has said that the world is staring at a possible disruption in food supply chains that would increase food insecurity as a drawback of coronavirus pandemic.

The report has suggested some steps that could bring back the shut business into the economy and control the damage done to world food supplies. It categorically mentions the need for expanding and improve emergency food assistance and social protection programs.

The report, which came late last month, says that this measure will ensure a buffer for the most vulnerable, who is currently at home and being affected economically because of the business closures.

The report says: "The emergency assistance needs to be provided as early as possible to contain the spread of the virus and to protect livelihoods during recovery later. Food banks and community-based groups, supported by both governments and private charities alike, should be mobilized to deliver or mail food, as families stay home."

It specifically says that one-off or multiple cash transfers can be a damage control measure for many vulnerable communities where the contagion is still to reach. The report says that cash-transfer gives hope to the families until the supply-chains are restored.

The report says that at least 87 per cent of the world's student population is being affected by the disease, and also mentions that when schools re-open the focus on providing nutritional meals to students should be the focus of communities and governments at local and central levels.

As per the report, more than 160 countries have implemented nationwide closures of schools, impacting over 87 per cent of the world's student population. It means the cancellation of school meals, often the only source of nutrition for children in vulnerable households. School meal suppliers and caterers are losing their income, too.


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First published: 13 April 2020, 21:37 IST