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Billionaires urged by UN meals chief to combat world starvation: "do the suitable factor"

World Food Program (WFP) head David Beasley attends a press conference on an updated call for aid to South Sudan on May 15, 2017 at the United Nations Office in Geneva.


The United Nations' chief food commissioner has called on billionaires and corporations to save 30 million people around the world who could die of starvation without help this year.

David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, said Thursday that the organization would need $ 4.9 billion to feed those at risk for a year.

"There are over 2,000 billionaires worldwide with a net worth of $ 8 trillion. In my home country, the United States, there are 12 people worth $ 1 trillion," Beasley told a UN Security Council panel on conflict-related hunger .

"Reports say three of them made billions upon billions during Covid. I'm not against people who make money, but humanity is facing the biggest crisis any of us have seen in our lives."

As the world was hit by the coronavirus crisis, some CEOs saw their net worth spike amid a broad market rally led by the tech sector. According to Forbes real-time data, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world as of Friday with a net worth of $ 177.9 billion. He reportedly added $ 13 billion in a single day in July.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Alex Wong | Getty Images

In terms of net worth, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are valued at $ 115.4 billion and $ 93.7 billion, respectively, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk's net worth is $ 88.9 billion. USD is estimated.

Beasley stressed that the Covid-19 pandemic had exacerbated food insecurity caused by years of conflict in Nigeria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yemen. Combined with conflict and climate change, this meant that "the 270 million people marching to the brink of hunger need our help more than ever," he said, calling 2021 a "make-or-break year".

WFP is working with more than 50 governments to expand their safety nets and help 138 million people stop what Beasley called the "hunger pandemic".

"We are doing pretty much everything to keep the dam from bursting. But without the resources we need, there is still a wave of hunger and hunger across the globe," said Beasley. "And if it does, it will overwhelm nations and communities already weakened by years of conflict and instability."

Villagers collect food aid that was dropped from an airplane in burlap bags by an airplane onto a dropping zone in a village in Ayod County, South Sudan, where the World Food Program (WFP) carried out a food drop of grain and extra aid on Feb.6, 2020.

Tony Karumba | AFP | Getty Images

He told the Security Council that the international community "had no excuses" for failing to act, but noted that "governments are buckled up" and urged the private sector to step up its efforts.

"It is time for those who are most busy, to help those who have least, at this extraordinary time in world history. To show that you truly love your neighbor," said Beasley. "The world needs you now and it is time to do the right thing."

The world's heads of state and government are committed to ending global hunger and malnutrition by 2030, as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Beasley praised efforts by countries around the world to assist their citizens during the pandemic, along with the advanced economies of the G-20 and the IMF, to suspend debt repayment for poorer countries.

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