COVID-19 Outbreak: The Twin Threats of Hunger and Pandemic

Photo: WFP/Marcelle Rodriguez
Barron Segar
Published March 25, 2020

Right now, COVID-19 is affecting all of us. It makes no distinction between individuals or countries, and it is spreading quickly across the world. Families in countries with weak health systems and minimal safety nets are relying now more than ever on the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its humanitarian partners for assistance.

I want to update you on how WFP is stepping up its role to save lives and minimize the impact of the virus on the world’s most vulnerable populations. I also want to let you know what you can do to help, so WFP can continue delivering at full capacity, particularly in countries most susceptible to pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions.

First, we’re setting an ambitious goal of raising $5 million dollars by the end of April to support WFP during this unprecedented crisis. WFP needs these funds immediately to support ongoing operations. Please make a generous donation today.

Here are some of the ways WFP is responding to the pandemic over the coming weeks:

  1. Monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 crisis: WFP’s Regional Bureaus and Country Offices are modeling different scenarios to determine all potential needs resulting from the pandemic. WFP is leveraging its broad programmatic experience in the humanitarian, resilience and development domains to identify the most appropriate interventions in each context.
  2. Pre-positioning food and medical supplies: Having food and medical supplies in place before a disaster strikes is essential. WFP is working now to pre-position stocks in vulnerable communities. Given the risk of border closures, there is no time to waste.
  3. Providing planning and logistics support to the humanitarian and health response: WFP is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), and participating in the newly established Supply Chain Interagency Coordination Cell. It has also delivered health-related commodities and protective equipment to 67 countries on behalf of WHO through its Humanitarian Response Depots, designed an innovative COVID-19 field treatment center with WHO, and maintained vital air and ground transportation services for humanitarian and health responders.

The additional cost of all these activities is significant, and we must act immediately to help WFP with whatever resources we can provide as soon as possible.

To continue this lifesaving work, we need your help: Your gift today can provide the uninterrupted delivery of lifesaving nutritious food and medical supplies to vulnerable communities at risk of infection and further support the humanitarian community.

Let me assure you that WFP’s staff are working around the clock to ensure they are ready and equipped to respond to the crisis, both through their operations and support for WFP’s partners. I remain confident that together we will be able to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the lives of those who rely on us most.

For many people, WFP is their only source of food and survival. That is why WFP needs your help now more than ever to fight the twin threats of hunger and pandemic. None of this can happen without the generosity of our supporters. Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Donate today.

Barron Segar
CEO, World Food Program USA