World Food Program Head Presents Horrendous Potential of the Food Chain Collapse
May 9, 2020 (EIRNS)—David Beasley, executive director of the United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP), addressed the deadly potential facing mankind if the food supply chain breaks down, as is already beginning to happen in many parts of the world. Speaking Friday at the Atlantic Council, Beasley said that up to 300,000 people could starve to death every day if the pandemic causes the global food supply chain to collapse.
As reported on the Council’s website, Beasley referenced the fact that he was speaking on the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, adding that 2020 could be remembered as the deadliest year for humanity since World War II. “That was a tough time,” he said, “but the supply chains didn’t break down, except in war zones. Right now, you’ve got supply chains breaking down all over the world.”
He pointed out that this disaster was already in the works before the pandemic hit. “Back in December, January, and February—before COVID-19 was on the global scene—I had already been telling leaders around the world that 2020 would be the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, especially in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, the D.R.C. [Congo], Ethiopia, and Somalia,” he said.
“Then desert locusts began to hit, and now were looking at the second wave, which is going to be twenty times bigger.... If farmers can’t get food to the marketplace, it impacts the rest of the population. And if farmers aren’t out there planting, then next Fall when it’s harvest time, there’ll be serious food shortages. In Sudan, for example, there’s flooding. And desert locusts are consuming a million acres of just-planted crops. You’ve got a perfect storm of extraordinary proportions coming together right now.”
He estimates that 821 million people are chronically hungry, and another 135 million are acutely food-insecure, “meaning on the brink of starvation.” He warned that if COVID-19 “wrecks the global food supply chain, that number could more than double to 265 million—roughly the population of Indonesia.”
On April 21, Beasley told a virtual session of the UN Security Council that “we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months” if the world body doesn’t act quickly to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade. He said a million people could be killed in each of many countries, naming Afghanistan, the D.R.C., Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The World Food Program, he said, has
“the expertise, because we deal in war zones. When most organizations are leaving at a time like this, this is when we come in strong and hard,” he said. He noted that the WFP is also helping with the COVID-19 crisis, delivering medical supplies as well as food, with a huge logistical capacity, adding that “We’re the biggest airline industry operating right now. If we weren’t already where we are, we’d have famine in many countries.... But if the U.S., which has the most sophisticated supply chain on Earth, is running out of toilet paper, what do you think is happening in Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, or Yemen? Many of the people we’re talking about don’t have coping capacity. If you’re going to do a lockdown where people don’t have any coping capacity, we’ve got to come in advance and pre-position food so they can live. Otherwise you’re going to have riots and destabilization—and that’s the last thing we need right now.”
The United States is the largest funder of the WFP, contributing $3.4 billion last year, about 40% of its total funding.