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We’re in a global food crisis… and it’s worse than the COVID-19 pandemic

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Food prices around the world have hit a 10-year high during the pandemic – with the biggest rises affecting some of the poorest countries

According to a new world vision report, soaring food prices combined with lockdown-induced job losses and disrupted nutrition services has fuelled a global hunger crisis

World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth joined ticker to share more on World Vision’s Price Shocks report.

Thought the cost of groceries in Australia had climbed during COVID?

Well, we Australia is still the ‘lucky country’, compared to places like Syria, east Africa or Myanmar, where the cost of food has soared by more than 50 per cent since the pandemic began.

That’s the finding of a new World Vision report which has found food prices have not only hit a 10-year high during COVID, but that the biggest rises are hitting the world’s poorest the hardest.

World Vision’s Price Shocks report compared the cost of a basket of 10 staple items in 31 countries and found Australians would have to work an average of one hour to pay for the 10 items, while people in Syria would have to work three days and in South Sudan eight days.

“In many countries around the world where well, visions working, you already have environments that are very fragile. So they’re already struggling, maybe with conflict, maybe with large scale people movement in a place like Lebanon, for example,” Daniel told ticker NEWS.

He said when you put on top of that COVID, it’s plunged the World Food System in a kind of crisis, you have less food being made, because there are less workers and less ability to get into those spaces, the movement of that food into marketplaces are restricted because of COVID, the ability to process it, then the ability to take it into micro places and sell it, all of this has been threatened by COVID.

“You have 3 billion people going to bed at night without enough food.”

Price Shocks found between February 2020 and July 2021, while Australian food prices rose by just 3.5 per cent, prices increased in Myanmar by 54 per cent, Lebanon 48 per cent, Mozambique 38.3 per cent, Vanuatu 30.9 per cent, Syria 29.2 per cent and Timor-Leste 17.7 per cent – affecting mainly people who could least afford it.

Daniel said the report confirmed the aftershocks of COVID-19 had the potential to exact a greater toll on the world than the virus itself.

“Job losses and lower incomes from the pandemic are forcing millions of families to skip meals, go for cheaper, less nutritious food, or go without food altogether,” Daniel said.

The report also cites a recent study which estimated by the end of 2022, the nutrition crisis caused by COVID-19 could result in 283,000 more deaths of children aged under five, 13.6 million more children suffering from wasting or acute malnutrition and 2.6 million more children suffering from stunting. This would equate to 250 children dying each day from pandemic-related malnutrition.

“As always, children suffer the most – they are the most vulnerable to hunger because they have a greater need for nutrients, they become undernourished faster than adults and are at a much higher risk of dying from starvation,” Daniel said.

Daniel said World Vision had been responding to the hunger crisis, reaching 12 million of the world’s most vulnerable people in 29 countries with food and nutrition in 2020 alone.

And he was confident Australians would step up to help organisations like World Vision provide emergency food and cash assistance to those in need. World Vision has also urged the Australian Government to commit $AU150 million famine-prevention package to avert a worsening of the crisis.

“Generosity in the face of need is in our DNA, so I am certain Australians will respond – the same way we responded to the Boxing Day tsunami, the Ethiopia famine and the Beirut port explosion.”

World

Five former Trump staffers speak with House

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January 6 capital riots investigation continues

As the investigation into the January 6 capitol riots continues, new reports allege that at least five former Trump staffers have come forward to speak voluntarily with the House committee.

This comes as the committee’s lawyers continue to reach out to further Trump aides as to whether they would be interested in speaking at the hearing without the threat of SUPENA.

The committee has been tasked with investigating the actions of former President Donald Trump prior to the riots occurring.

This most recent outreach is not likely to signify that the committee believes the staffers had any involvement in sparking the riots… but rather they may have more context as to what was happening inside the White House that day.

It all comes as Trump continues his legal battle against the investigation… suing both the committee and the National Archives in an attempt to withhold documents.

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Queen Elizabeth not attending COP26 climate event

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Buckingham Palace says the Queen is accepting doctor’s advice to rest

Following a health scare just last week… Queen Elizabeth will not be attending the upcoming COP-26 climate event in Glasgow.

This comes as doctors advise the royal to rest and comes just hours after she carried out her first official engagements since being admitted to hospital.

On Tuesday, Elizabeth met virtually with the ambassador of Korea and Switzerland.

Last week, Buckingham Palace revealed the monarch spent a night in hospital for “preliminary investigations”… but returned home in “good spirits”.

Meanwhile, the Queen was due to attend an evening reception in Glasgow on Monday but will deliver a video message instead.

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Jeff Bezos unveils plans for commercial space station

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Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company, Blue Origin, has announced plans to launch a space station in Earth’s orbit.

The station will be named “Orbital Reef,” and is projected to be built and operational by the end of the decade.

The company says the station will be serve as a “mixed-use business park” in space and will host up to 10 people.

Promotional material released by the company revealed the 32-thousand square foot station will provide customers with an ideal location for “filmmaking in microgravity”, or “conducting cutting-edge research”.

It’s also speculated that the space station will include a “space hotel”.

The company will partner with Sierra Space and Boeing to build the outpost.

The announcement comes amid NASA efforts to find a proposal to replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is now more than 20 years old and in desperate need of repair.

This will include $400m in private contracts to space companies to help the agency replace the ageing outpost.

There is likely to be stiff competition for the funding, and Blue Origin is the latest firm to unveil their space station concept, joining space firms Nanoracks, Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin, who have teamed up to launch a station into low orbit by 2027.

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