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COVID-19 could cause famines of “biblical proportions”

iStock/Stas_V (NEW YORK) — With the global death toll due to COVID-19 inching closer to 200,000, while sickening 2.5 million others according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University — health officials say the pandemic could cause famines of “biblical proportions” across the globe.

David Beasley, the head of the World Food Programme, said Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council that “an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people” due to COVID-19.

Urging world leaders, he said, “If we don’t prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade — we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”

Currently, there are no famines reported, but Beasley projects in a “worst-case scenario” that about three dozen countries could suffer from a famine.

In the U.S., however, there is a glut of milk — forcing farmers to dump their produce due to decreased demand.  Due to stay-at-home orders, the milk industry has been upended.

“Dairy farmers can’t keep the milk and so they’re dumping it because, they’ve invested so much money to produce it already, Money and labor and goods to get it done, that they can’t sell it,” said Orion Samuelson, an agro-business reporter for WGN Radio in Chicago.  “The biggest buyer of fluid milk in the United States is the National School Lunch Program. Those buyers just aren’t out there.”

And because cows need to be milked every day, it’s causing problems for farmers, who are now forced to dump milk.  As of now, some farmers are reportedly being paid to dump their produce, but it unsure how long those payments will last.

President Donald Trump on Friday pledged the federal government will send $19 billion in aid to struggling farmers because of the pandemic. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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