Every third person in the world does not have access to the necessary amount of food.

The United Nations said on Monday that the number of hungry people in the world has increased dramatically in 2020, largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cost of food and access to it.

“The reality is worse than expected,” said Arif Hussain, chief economist at the World Food Program. – In just one year, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger has increased more than in the previous five years combined.”

The annual report on food security, prepared by five UN agencies, contains shocking conclusions: last year, almost a third of the inhabitants of our planet did not have access to enough food. The number of hungry people has reached 2.37 billion people, an increase of almost 320 million people over the year. It may take decades to reduce the level of chronic hunger.

The UN is also concerned that this will complicate efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030. The authors of the report warn that by this time there may be 660 million hungry people in the world, which is partly due to the long-term consequences of the pandemic. According to UN estimates, if there were no pandemic, this figure would be 30 million fewer people.

“If this is not a wake–up call, then I do not know what it should be,” said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program.

Asia and Africa were the most affected.

“More than half of the hungry – 418 million – live in Asia, and more than a third in Africa – about 282 million,” said Qu Dongyu, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Children were particularly badly affected. Millions of children have lost their school lunches due to school closures during the pandemic, and for many, this is the only guaranteed daily meal.

Last year, the rates of stunting and exhaustion in children increased, as well as overweight, which is a consequence of poor nutrition.

In addition to the pandemic, the global food supply has also been affected by conflicts and climate change.

According to UN estimates, about 41 million people in 43 countries are on the verge of starvation.

“Ending hunger by 2030 is impossible given the trajectory we are on now,” Beasley said. – If we don’t take these problems seriously, we will face mass famine, destabilization of nations, and mass migration.”