Expert: Food Shortages Could Be ‘Just as Deadly’ as Diseases, Next Global Threat

A woman carrying food bags walks pasts people standing in queue outside a state-run superm

The world has been focused for more than two years on the coronavirus epidemic, but one health expert says people should be aware that the threat of food shortages around the globe could be “just as deadly.”

Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, warned against governments only focusing on one virus.

Sands said food shortages could become the next global health crisis and world leaders should prepare for it.

“It’s not as well-defined as some brand new pathogen appearing with distinctive new symptoms. But it could well be just as deadly,” Sands said in a Reuters report.

Women from Murle ethnic group unload bags of sorghum from a truck during a food distribution by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Gumuruk, South Sudan, on June 10, 2021, as their village where recently attacked by armed youth group. - An escalation in conflict has led to the displacement of thousands of individuals in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA, former Pibor County) in May 2021, deepening humanitarian needs in an area already facing catastrophic conditions across sectors and which had been classified as famine likely by the Global Famine Review of Integrated Food security phase (IPC) in November, 2020. (Photo by Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP) (Photo by SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP via Getty Images)

Women from Murle ethnic group unload bags of sorghum from a truck during a food distribution by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Gumuruk, South Sudan, on June 10, 2021. (SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP via Getty Images)

The New York Post reported:

Sands, who works in areas already struggling with poverty and malnutrition, says wealthy governments risk making the “classic” mistake of concerning themselves only with crises that reflect the most recent disaster the world has faced.

Australia is already beginning to see early signs of food stress as lettuce prices hit an incredible $12 per head in some areas following the flood season. Natural disasters, coupled with inflation and complications in the global trade industry, could produce a perfect storm as the globe begins to find its feet.

While it is unclear just how devastating accelerated food shortages could be to a first-world country like Australia, health experts have urged leaders to stay vigilant.

A shopper looks at empty shelves of frozen food in a downtown supermarket on March 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. (ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

The post included a remark from Australia and New Zealand food and agribusiness research general manager Stefan Vogel, who said Russia’s continued war on Ukraine could result in a huge shortage of grain this year and beyond.

“Last year, Ukraine exported 70 million tonnes of grain, which is twice the amount that comes out of Australia … but this year it will be a fraction of that,” Vogel said.

Sands said the Global Fund wants to raise $18 billion to improve worldwide health systems and has already raised more than a third of its goal for the 2024-2026 period.

The number of severely food-insecure people has doubled in just the past two years, from 135 million pre-pandemic to 276 million today, the United Nations reported.

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