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South Africa is an emerging epicentre of hunger – Oxfam

10 July 2020 3:39 PM

More people are likely to die from Covid-19-related hunger than the disease itself, warns Oxfam in its “Hunger Virus” report.

More people are likely to die from Covid-19-related hunger than the disease itself – and South Africa is a new hunger hotspot, warns Oxfam in its “Hunger Virus” report.

It says that South Africa is “emerging epicentre of hunger”.


Read: The Hunger Virus: How Covid-19 is fueling hunger in a hungry world - Oxfam


Aerial view of the queue of residents of Iterileng informal settlement waiting to receive their food parcels on 20 May.

The NGO warns that millions of people in Africa’s most developed country have been “tipped over the edge” by the pandemic and the resultant lockdown.

South Africa – an upper-middle income country and the Continent’s breadbasket – is one of the world’s most unequal societies.


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Oxfam research into the impact of the lockdown found that about a third of adults in South Africa are going to bed hungry right now.

About a fifth of adults surveyed by Oxfam report losing weight during the lockdown due to a lack of food.

“Millions of informal workers have suddenly found themselves out of work,” says Oxfam in its report.

“The closure of street food vendors, which support an estimated 500 000 livelihoods and provide food for 70% of township households, is having a dramatic impact on both the farmers that supply them and on what people can buy and eat.

“Severe restrictions on movement has resulted in mass job losses over the last few months. With no income or social support, millions of people cannot afford enough to eat.”

A survey by the Foundation for Human Rights found food to be "the most difficult basic good" to access during the lockdown with children, especially, severely affected.

Refilwe Moloto interviewed international correspondent Adam Gilchrist.

Oxfam talks about 120 million people pushed to the brink of starvation because of people losing jobs… markets that are closed…

Adam Gilchrist - international correspondent

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


10 July 2020 3:39 PM

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