While many in the United States have moved on from COVID-19 and into other matters of safety and injustice, the developing world only continues to fall deeper into the virus.
The COVID pandemic has caused more than just inconvenience and uncertainty in the developing world. It has become a matter of life and death – and not just from the virus itself. Families already struggling to put enough food on the table for their families to survive each day are now facing seemingly insurmountable odds.
Closures, social distancing, and restrictions mean that many impoverished families are no longer able to work, and thus cannot feed their children. In fact, UN World Food Programme Executive Producer David Beasley predicts that, due to lost income during COVID-19, the number of people who are “facing crisis levels of hunger or worse” will almost double from 135 million to 265 million between now and the end of 2020.
A Personal Story From The Developing World
One victim of this trend is Abiyot, a single mother in Ethiopia.
Abandoned by her husband, she barely made enough as a school cook to take care of her family’s basic needs even before the pandemic struck. Her situation was so desperate and hopeless, that she felt it was better to send three of her children away. Maybe they could find provision elsewhere, since she couldn’t take care of them the way they needed.
But even after sending away three of her children, she was left with six hungry mouths to feed. The six remaining at home relied on their school for breakfast and lunch during the week. Even so, Abiyot and her children often went hungry during the weekends because she could not afford the extra food.
Then COVID-19 swept in.
The school that employed Abiyot closed, leaving her with no income. She was overwhelmed by hopelessness. “My heart was broken when the school closed, and my part-time employers told me they don’t need my help anymore because of COVID-19. Every door was shut in my face,” Abiyot lamented.
She soon ran out of food and the thought of her children starving to death left her in despair. With all her money exhausted, Abiyot turned to the only place she could think of for help – the local church. Her tears fell uncontrollably as she explained the dire situation she faced.
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