Millions of people around the world are facing a wave of economic instability as the Corona Corvid-19 coronavirus continues to spread,
But the United Nations is focusing on the Middle East, where it has warned that the Arab world will suffer particularly, with an estimated 8.3 million people immersed in poverty.
This massive increase will bring the total number of people living in poverty in the Arab world to 101.4 million, including 52 million that the United Nations classifies as “undernourished”.
According to the Wednesday report of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the number of undernourished people will increase by about two million.
According to the agency, undernutrition is the greatest health risk worldwide – greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined – as around 821 million people do not have enough food to lead a healthy life.
“The consequences of this crisis will be particularly severe for vulnerable groups, especially women and youth,” said Rola Dashti, ESCWA, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
She added: “Arab governments must ensure a speedy emergency response to protect their people from falling into poverty and food insecurity due to the impact of the Corona Corvid 19 virus.”
“The regional response to emergencies must support national efforts and mobilize resources and expertise to protect the poor and vulnerable,” she added.
The agency warned last month that the coronavirus pandemic could erase more than 1.7 million jobs in the Arab world this year.
“The consequences of this crisis will be particularly severe for vulnerable groups, especially women and youth, and workers in the informal sector who cannot obtain social and unemployment insurance,” Dashti said.
Some countries in the region have resorted to strict plans to counter the impact of the epidemic on their economies.
In March, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia announced plans worth tens of billions of dollars,
But countries dependent on tourism with limited oil reserves like Tunisia are expected to face a more difficult time.
Khaled Abu Ismail, chief economist at ESCWA, told the United Nations News Agency that the agency highlighted several measures that could be taken to alleviate the crisis:
These include providing credit to small businesses and institutions, building community outreach efforts, and expanding cash transfers to the poor.
With the spread of the coronavirus, which disrupts global food supplies, the poorly implemented social protection plans in many Arab countries will have to leave the most vulnerable groups without a means to overcome this epidemic, the ESCWA report said.
Because of the heavy dependence on food imports in the region, food security is one of the greatest concerns. To address these concerns, ESCWA recommended that countries in the region reduce their food waste levels.
ESCWA said that the region loses about $ 60 billion annually from food waste and waste.
The agency added that reducing food waste in the Arab world by 50 percent would increase family income. The region will be able to significantly improve food availability, reduce food imports and improve the trade balance in this process.
ESCWA covers 18 Arab countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. While it does not report on Algeria, Iran, Israel or Turkey.