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Addressing the impacts of COVID-19 in food crises: April–December 2020 (May update)

FAO’s component of the Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan

At the beginning of April, the 2020 edition of the Global Report on Food Crises was issued, presenting a stark warning for the future. In 2019 – prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – 135 million people experienced Crisis (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC]/Cadre harmonisé [CH] Phase 3) and worse levels of acute food insecurity. A further 183 million were on the edge in stressed food security conditions (IPC/CH Phase 2) – in other words, just one shock away from severe acute food insecurity.

COVID-19-related restrictions risk pushing many more into crisis. As the pandemic progresses in food crisis contexts, food availability as well as food access could emerge as a serious concern – in both rural and urban areas.

The Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan has been revised significantly upwards to reflect the increasingly urgent need to address non-health impacts of COVID-19. Of these needs, the food security sector represents the largest component, for a total of USD 1.6 billion. As part of this, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is seeking USD 350 million to ensure the provision of critical assistance where there are already high levels of need, while meeting new needs emerging from the effects of COVID-19.

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