International poverty charity Oxfam warned in a report this week that the number of deaths caused by famine as a result of worldwide lockdown measures could exceed those caused by the Chinese coronavirus, which triggered the lockdowns.
Oxfam, which is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focused on alleviating global poverty, released a report on Thursday warning that “12,000 people per day could die from Covid-19 linked hunger by end of the year.”
The report’s summary states:
As many as 12,000 people could die per day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to COVID-19, potentially more than could die from the disease, warned Oxfam in a new briefing published today. The global observed daily mortality rate for COVID-19 reached its highest recorded point in April 2020 at just over 10,000 deaths per day.
‘The Hunger Virus,’ reveals how 121 million more people could be pushed to the brink of starvation this year as a result of the social and economic fallout from the pandemic including through mass unemployment, disruption to food production and supplies, and declining aid.
Researchers used the opportunity to identify ten of the world’s worst hunger hotspots, focusing on Venezuela and South Sudan. They also focused on other “emerging hotspots of hunger,” such as Brazil and India, where hundreds of millions of people have been unable to earn the salaries they depend on.
Other emerging hotspots include war-torn Yemen, where remittances have fallen by 80 percent, and large swathes of Africa where restrictions on freedom of movement have prevented farmers from transporting their livestock to greener pastures for feeding.
“COVID-19 [the Chinese coronavirus] is the last straw for millions of people already struggling with the impacts of conflict, climate change, inequality, and a broken food system that has impoverished millions of food producers and workers,” said Oxfam’s Interim Executive Director Chema Vera on the report’s release.
Vema reinforced Oxfam’s reputation for anti-capitalist rhetoric by complaining about dividends paid out to shareholders of some of the world’s largest food and drink companies.
“Meanwhile, those at the top are continuing to make a profit: eight of the biggest food and drink companies paid out over $18 billion to shareholders since January even as the pandemic was spreading across the globe ― ten times more than the UN says is needed to stop people going hungry,” she continued.
The organization’s reputation has also been severely damaged by multiple allegations of employees and volunteers engaging in “sex for aid,” leading to the resignation of CEO Mark Goldring in 2018.
Oxfam is not the only major international organization warning of the dire economic consequences of the lockdown measures imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations has similarly argued that the economic devastation from the Chinese coronavirus pandemic may well kill more people than the disease.
In May, the executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, David Beasley, cautioned that the world is now “not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe.” He added that the pandemic could force up to 420 million people into extreme poverty, typically defined as those earning less than two dollars a day.