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The international community’s response to global food insecurity is “dangerously inadequate”, the NGO Oxfam said in a new report Tuesday, published just days after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the UN’s World Food Programme.

“The threat of ‘Covid famines’ and widespread extreme hunger is setting off every alarm bell within the international community, but so far sluggish funding is hampering humanitarian agencies’ efforts to deliver urgent assistance to people in need,” Oxfam wrote.

“The international community’s response to global food insecurity has been dangerously inadequate,” said the report Later Will Be Too Late.

The NGO complained that funding for 55m people facing extreme hunger in seven worst-affected countries – Afghanistan, Somalia, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen – was “abysmally low”.

Students line up for school in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Students line up for school in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photograph: Olympia de Maismont/AFP/Getty Images

A malnourished child in Sana’a Yemen. Yemen has been ravaged by years of war and famine, and the global response to food insecurity has been “dangerously inadequate” Oxfam has warned.

A malnourished child in Sana’a Yemen. Yemen has been ravaged by years of war and famine, and the global response to food insecurity has been “dangerously inadequate” Oxfam has warned. Photograph: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

In five of the seven countries, donors had so far given “no money at all” for the coronavirus-related nutrition assistance part of the UN’s $10.3b humanitarian appeal, the report said.

“As of today, donors have pledged just 28% of the UN Covid appeal that was launched back in March this year,” Oxfam said.

Every sector – gender-based violence, protection, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene – were “chronically under-funded,” Oxfam said.

“But some of the worst funded sectors are food security and nutrition.”

Food from the World Food Programme for South Sudanese refugees at Palabek camp in Lamwo.

Food from the World Food Programme for South Sudanese refugees at Palabek camp in Lamwo. Photograph: James Akena/Reuters

Last Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme for feeding millions of people from Yemen to North Korea, as the coronavirus pandemic pushes millions more into hunger.

Founded in 1961 and funded entirely by donations, the UN body helped 97m people last year, distributing 15b rations to people in 88 countries.

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