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Pandemics plunge families into food poverty in the world’s rich economy

Due to last year’s pandemic, Mariasunta Sessia and her husband Rodolfo quit their jobs, but they struggled to pay for food, rent and bills.

“It didn’t take long for all the money to run out,” said 36-year-old Seccia, who worked as a cleaner at a hotel in Milan while her husband was selling fruit at a stall. “When our kids opened the fridge and couldn’t even find a bottle of water … it was very shocking to them. They have ever experienced hunger in their lives. I’ve never done it. “

The sexuals are not the only ones who have struggled in the wealthy countries of the developed world. According to recently released figures, the number of people hungry for the first time has increased across Europe and North America since the United Nations began collecting data in 2014. By 2020, nearly 9% of people had moderate or severe food insecurity, compared to 7.7% in the previous year.

The numbers are dwarfed by the level of the non-wealthy economy. Almost one-third of the world’s population did not have adequate nutrition in 2020. According to the United Nations.. And unlike poor countries that lack government protection, most developed countries have state-sponsored welfare safety nets.

Nonetheless, many vulnerable people in developed countries have been hit hard by the economic impact of Covid-19, said Arifhusain, chief economist at the United Nations World Food Program.

“Even in developed countries, there are people who are not always participating in safety net schemes. They are suffering and suffering,” he said.

These include self-employed workers and workers with temporary contracts. These workers are often not covered by insurance-based unemployment and illness allowances and work in an informal economy.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, the number of people in poverty in Italy will increase by 22% year-on-year to 5.6 million in 2020, equivalent to 1 in 10 Italians.

Mariassunta Seccia and her children faced hunger after losing their jobs in a pandemic © Albero della Vita

To address this, the role of non-governmental groups such as charities and food banks grew during the pandemic, said Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Nutrition Improvement.

According to the European Food Banking Federation (Feba), its members are helped The population in 2020 was about 13 million, an increase of 35% over the previous year. About 860,000 tonnes of food were distributed, up 12%, and not decreasing in 2021, said Feva Secretary-General Angela Frigo. “Food demand is still rising,” she said.

A column chart of moderate or severe food insecurity (% of population) in North America and Europe shows that hunger is widespread even in rich countries.

Seccia turned to the charity Albertola Vita Foundation. The foundation aims to combat poverty by providing food, care and education to those in need. “If it wasn’t for help [foundation]I don’t know where I got there, “she said.

Isabella Catapano, general director of Albero della Vita, said the charity helped more than 1,000 families in 2020, quadrupling year-on-year.

“I sometimes get the impression that poverty doesn’t exist in more developed countries, but that’s exactly what it is,” she said. “During the pandemic, the situation often suddenly worsened and many left without doing anything.”

In particular, those who worked in Italy’s informal economy were “most vulnerable” and “left behind by the national safety net,” she said.

Line chart of people in absolute poverty (millions) showing that the pandemic has boosted poverty in Italy significantly

In the United States, food banks served 55% more people than they did before the pandemic, according to Feeding America, which operates a nationwide network of food banks.It 45 million said Last year I experienced food insecurity.

Although fewer than after the 2008 financial crisis, where food insecurity affected 50 million people, food price inflation has become more of a concern, he said. Craig Gundersen, Professor of Agriculture and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois.

“I’m more worried about what happens after Covid than during Covid. All these stimuli lead to inflation, which leads to higher food prices. Every time inflation rises, it’s vulnerable. It puts a lot of strain on the household, “he said.

Church members pack bags in a food bank in New York. According to Feeding America © Bennett Raglin / Getty Images for Food Bank For New York, about 45 million people in the United States experienced food insecurity last year.

The prices of groceries traded in the international market Soaring These days, it has been caused by droughts in major export areas and stockpiles by some governments and businesses.

According to economists, developing countries that rely on agricultural imports and less processed foods are seriously affected, but rich countries will soon feel the impact.

Food producer prices Is rising Christian Bogmans, an IMF economist, said at the fastest pace since 2008, this will play a stronger role in driving headline inflation statistics than in the recent past.

He and his colleagues predicted that consumer food prices in developed countries would rise by an average of 4.5 points by the end of 2022. The EU and the US have warned that loose monetary and fiscal policy could face additional price pressures.

Line graph of the food price index (2014-2016 = 100) showing that global food prices have soared

Some dry weather conditions in the United States this year could further increase consumer food price inflation, which is difficult to quantify at this time, he added.

Aid experts were worried that rising levels of poverty and hunger in rich countries would affect their ability to extend aid to poor countries.

Hussein of the United Nations World Food Program was concerned that the world’s collective ability to deal with hunger and poverty was declining. “While needs are growing, developed countries have less resources to meet those needs,” he said.

Returning to Milan, Seccia and her husband have had strange jobs, mainly cleaning, for the past six months.

They wanted their situation to “slowly improve,” but the pandemic’s impact would be protracted, Seccia said.

Pandemics plunge families into food poverty in the world’s rich economy

Source link Pandemics plunge families into food poverty in the world’s rich economy

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