Pope Francis has made a donation to the World Food Programme as the organisation works to feed 270 million people this year amid rising hunger caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Vatican announced on July 3 that Pope Francis would donate 25,000 euros ($28,000) as “an expression of his closeness to those affected by the pandemic and to those who are engaged in essential services for the poor and weakest and most vulnerable people in our society,” the Catholic News Agency said.
With this symbolic gesture, the Agency noted, Pope Francis desires to express “paternal encouragement towards the organisation’s humanitarian work and toward other countries willing to adhere to forms of support for integral development and public health in this time of crisis, and to combat social instability, food insecurity, rising unemployment, and the collapse of the economic systems of the most vulnerable nations.”
WFP thanked Pope Francis for his donation and his encouragement of the organisation’s humanitarian work.
“May your example of compassion inspire the world to come together in this time of crisis and step up to help the most vulnerable nations and people,” WFP said in a tweet on Monday, June 6.
WFP has issued a call for $4.9 billion in funding to bring food assistance where governments are asking for more support.
Coronavirus infection levels have been rising in Latin America and Africa at a moment when food stocks in some parts of the world are already low, leaving more people vulnerable to food insecurity, WFP says.
“The impact of Covid-19 on people is demanding us to step up and scale up our efforts to ensure more food-insecure people receive assistance,” Margot van der Velden, director of emergencies for WFP, said on July 2.
Van der Velden said South Africa, which has documented more than 159,000 Covid-19 cases, has also experienced a 90 per cent rise in the number of food-insecure people.
“The front line in the battle against the coronavirus is shifting from the rich world to the poor world,” WFP head David Beasley said June 29.
“Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos,” he said.