Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Home Health News Coronavirus: UN food agency, Air Force to tackle hunger in Latin America...

Coronavirus: UN food agency, Air Force to tackle hunger in Latin America – National

The head of the UN World Food Program says the COVID-19 crisis has dramatically increased the number of starving people in Latin America, which could trigger a refugee exodus to North America if not addressed.

David Beasley, the agency’s director, issued the warning as the Royal Canadian Air Force began Saturday to prepare to end its nearly two-week mission in which a mammoth C-17 Globemaster transport crisscrossed Central and South America and the Caribbean delivering tonnes of medical supplies.

Read more:
How Canada’s first long-term coronavirus pandemic projections hold up today

Beasley said there has been a 269 per cent increase in food insecurity in the region since the pandemic struck.

Beasley tells The Canadian Press that 4.7 million people were already “marching to the brink of starvation” before the pandemic but now that number has risen to 16 million.

Story continues below advertisement

Beasley praised Canada for lending the Globemaster and nearly three dozen personnel to work in tandem with the WFP and World Health Organization to deliver supplies throughout the region from a newly built hub in Panama.

However, he said unless the world answers the biggest humanitarian crisis in the World Food Program’s history, people will die and economic and political upheaval will ensue.






Coronavirus: Trump says rate of positive COVID-19 cases in Florida is declining


Coronavirus: Trump says rate of positive COVID-19 cases in Florida is declining

The agency is launching a six-month US$4.9 billion appeal to help feed 138 million people in 83 countries. Since the pandemic struck there have been serious food-insecurity increases in west and central Africa (135 per cent) and southern Africa (90 per cent).

Beasley says tackling the problem will also mean spending hundreds of millions of dollars more to battle the rising hunger in Canada’s Western Hemisphere backyard.

Story continues below advertisement

“The first thing is: let’s do what’s good; let’s do what’s right. And if that’s not good enough, do it out of your national-security interest,” Beasley said in an interview.

Read more:
Canada adds 491 new coronavirus cases, 6 deaths on Friday

“If patterns of experience are of any indication, if the economic deterioration due to COVID continues as it is, and we don’t have safety-net programs in place, I don’t see how you don’t have mass migration,” he added.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“You won’t have a mass migration today, tomorrow, but you will have it soon.”

The region was already struggling under the weight of Venezuela’s political and economic crisis. Prior to the pandemic, the UN estimated that six million Venezuelans would flee their country by the year’s end, as its economic, health and education systems collapsed. Neighbouring countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador have been bearing the brunt of the influx.

While those countries have been welcoming, COVID-19 has added an extra layer of strain and Beasley said the leaders of those countries told him last week they are extremely worried.






Coronavirus: Toronto restaurants, bars reopen as city enters stage 3 of Ontario plan


Coronavirus: Toronto restaurants, bars reopen as city enters stage 3 of Ontario plan

“This is why the international community has to step up. Otherwise there’s going to be chaos,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“And we have a vaccine for this chaos _ it’s called food.”

The former Republican governor of South Carolina visited Ottawa in mid-March, meeting multiple Canadian politicians right before the pandemic slammed normal activities to a halt. Beasley would test positive for COVID-19 himself days later, touching off a short-lived panic and rush of testing among the MPs and officials he saw; he’s since recovered.

Beasley was in Panama last week as part of a six-country tour, where he met Lt.-Col. Adam Pentney, the commander of Canada’s military airlift. He also met with Pentney’s crew as they loaded tonnes of personal protective equipment, medical supplies and other humanitarian supplies onto the Globemaster.

Read more:
COVID-19 putting pressure on small-town rents: ‘I can’t afford to live in the city I grew up in’

“That C-17 is a workhorse and it is a blessing in a time when we need it most. As you can imagine, we’re extremely grateful to the Canadian government for providing this support,” said Beasley.

“It was a beautiful sight. It was absolutely magnificent because that’s life-saving humanitarian support. It shows what happens when the world collaborates.”

Pentney said the C-17 mission is the first time he has been part of such a large humanitarian relief effort so close to home.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s in a region where we don’t often get to visit,” Pentney said in a telephone call from Panama this past week, where he was preparing to pilot the Globemaster’s final mission himself.

Friday’s mission to Guatemala was to be its last before the start of weekend preparations to the bring the plane and the 31 people supporting it back to Canada.






University of New Brunswick developing portable COVID-19 diagnostic tests


University of New Brunswick developing portable COVID-19 diagnostic tests

“My message to Canadians is they can be very proud of the support that’s being provided and the work that’s being done to look after our global neighbours,” said Pentney.

“The pandemic is very real here. Canada does have a role and a presence here in our backyard and we’re happy to be able to contribute to that.”

Pentney said he didn’t know if another Globemaster crew would be returning. But Beasley said he’s ramping up his fundraising efforts to target another group of donors because he said governments around the world are already strapped because of the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re in the worst crisis since World War Two and it’s time for the billionaires to step up and say, ‘We care about humanity, we care about planet Earth’ because we are at a crossroads on this planet right now,” said Beasley.

“The billionaires, especially those that are making billions because of COVID, they need to step up. We’re taking about millions of people dying.”



© 2020 The Canadian Press

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Also Read This

514 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total rises to 8,961 with 423 deaths

Ontario reported 514 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday and 38 additional deaths, bringing the provincial total to 8,961 cases.The death toll...

10 days paid sick leave could be more costly than beneficial, experts say – National

As the federal government discusses the possibility of implementing 10 paid sick days for workers across Canada amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, experts caution...

Poll: Consumers report greater satisfaction with digital health services than those from banking, telecoms

Consumers are keenly interested in digital and remote health services during the COVID-19 emergency, with roughly four in five respondents in a recent 1,000-person survey...

Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines – which means putting ethics before profits

As COVID-19 surges in the United States and worldwide, even the richest and best insured Americans understand, possibly for the...

CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19 Precautions 

  • Wash your hands frequently .
  • Maintain social distancing,
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene.
GET LIVE UPDATE