U.N. World Food Chief David Beasley on Thursday implored the world’s billionaires to step up to help save some 30 million people he said are at risk of perishing without help from the World Food Programme.
Globally, at least 270 million people were headed toward the brink of starvation and WFP hopes to reach 138 million people this year, Beasley told the U.N. Security Council.
“We need $4.9 billion to feed, for one year, all 30 million people who will die without WFP’s assistance,” Beasley said.
He noted that there are about 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion and several have hit billions during the pandemic.
“I am not opposed to people making money, but humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes,” said the former South Carolina governor.
The combined wealth of America’s billionaires jumped over 19% or by half a trillion since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the United States, according to a report published by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in June.
In the 11 weeks from March 18, when lockdowns started in some U.S. states, Amazon.Com Inc founder Jeff Bezos saw his wealth jet up by about $36.2 billion, while Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune surged by about $30.1 billion. Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk’s net worth also rose $14.1 billion.
“It’s time for those who have the most to step up, to help those who have the least in this extraordinary time in world history,” Beasley said. “The world needs you right now and it’s time to do the right thing.”
Meanwhile, the U.N Food Chief has listed Nigeria amongst countries that could very easily be overwhelmed by the after effects of the Coronavirus on the economy.
In a statement from Beasley on Thursday, he listed Nigeria amongst countries more vulnerable to the adverse economic impact of the pandemic, saying;
“NIGERIA: COVID-19 is also forcing more people into food insecurity. Analysis shows measures imposed to contain the virus reduced incomes in 80 percent of households. You can imagine the devastation with that alone.
“In the northeast of the country, 4.3 million people are food insecure, up by 600,000 largely due to COVID-19. While in the large urban area of Kano, the number of food insecure people during that lockdown period from March to June went from 568,000 to 1.5 million people – an increase of 1 million people. Very troubling.”