In 2017, 37 million more people went hungry than in 2014. Climate change and conflict were the main causes.
In recent years, the global climate crisis has become one of the leading issues around the world, disrupting economies and adversely affecting the lives of people, communities, and vulnerable nations at a staggering rate.
But now comes a global pandemic, adding to the tumultuous conditions many poor communities were already facing.
For countries fraught with the effects of climate change, the coronavirus lockdowns will have devastating consequences. In many of the areas where Tearfund works, day to day labor is what allows people to feed their families. Such informal economies cannot survive under the mandate of a lockdown, and the people who rely on daily wages are now facing starvation.
Before COVID 19, hunger was already on the rise
Communities that are dependent on agriculture know well the challenges climate change brings. Climate shocks, soil erosion, ocean acidification. Farmers toiling year-round to produce crops find that all their hard work is either ravaged by too-frequent rains and floods or droughts. Without reliable rainfall, farmers in developing nations cannot reap a good harvest. This disruption puts pressure on food supplies.
85% of the world’s poor are rural, and they rely on their land for food and income. Crop failure affects the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands, resulting in loss of income and the inability to stave hunger. In these areas, access to clean water, food, and shelter is already limited. As resources grow scarce or vanish altogether, tension increases among communities, leading to unrest and violent conflict.
No matter what global issues we face⏤whether it be rising global temperatures, unpredictable weather patterns, or a global pandemic⏤it is the world’s poorest who are hit hardest.
We are hopeful that the threat of COVID 19 will lessen over the coming months. Already, medical experts are learning about the virus and anticipate the release of proper treatment. But when the time comes for developing nations to phase out their lockdown restrictions, what will people return to?
Life after the global pandemic
Farms have been left untended for weeks now. In countries across Africa, swarms of locusts have destroyed crops. Shipments of supplies have all but stopped.
While the well of need is deep, right now, Tearfund is working on the frontlines to assist those with the greatest needs, providing emergency food, hygiene kits, clean water, and medical supplies.
We will continue our response to those experiencing the worst effects of the coronavirus, but as economies begin to reopen, we will also assist in helping vulnerable communities become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
Tearfund’s training programs teach farmers about climate-smart agriculture. Participants learn about using organic matter as fertilizer, introducing different crops, and expanding into new markets such as organic produce.
By equipping farmers to use up-to-date, robust agricultural practices that are also environmentally responsible, Tearfund is helping them become part of a sustainable future.
We are confident that together, with local churches and partners, communities can win their battle to produce enough food for everybody.