The new head of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley, delivers a press conference about an updated aid appeal for South Sudan on Monday at the United Nations Office in Geneva. (AFP)
GENEVA, Sept 18 (MENA) - The World Food Program chief warned Thursday that millions of people are closer to starvation because of the deadly combination of conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic and he urged donor nations and billionaires to help feed them and ensure their survival.
The UN program's chief David Beasley told the UN Security Council that the response to his warning five months ago of a potential “hunger pandemic” had averted famine and kept people alive but the work wasn't done, US News reported Friday.
The WFP and its partners were going all out to reach as many as 138 million people this year — “the biggest scale-up in our history,” he said.
But more was needed to help “the 270 million people marching toward the brink of starvation.” Already, 30 million rely solely on WFP for food to survive and will die without it, Beasley said.
He warned famine was possible in up to three dozen countries and could overwhelm places already weakened by conflict.
Beasley said WFP needs $4.9 billion to feed 30 million people who will die without the program's assistance for a year.
“It’s time for those who have the most to step up, to help those who have the least in this extraordinary time in world history,” Beasley said.
“Worldwide, there are over 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion,” the former South Carolina governor said, noting reports that some of the wealthiest Americans have made “billions upon billions” during the pandemic.
According to Business Insider, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and others all saw their wealth increase by billions since the pandemic began.
“I am not opposed to people making money, but humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes,” Beasley said. “It’s time for those who have the most to step up, to help those who have the least in this extraordinary time in world history.”