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Oxfam: SA emerging as hunger epicentre amid COVID-19

Oxfam has warned that millions had been 'tipped over the edge' by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Clarkes Estate residents in Elsies River, Cape Town receive their meals from community activists on 22 April 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - International charity Oxfam said that South Africa was emerging as a hunger epicentre.

It's warned that millions had been “tipped over the edge” by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Before the coronavirus hit, 13.7 million South Africans did not have access to enough food and the pandemic had made it worse.

A recent Oxfam report said that since the coronavirus lockdown was instituted, unemployment and loss of income had deepened the country's food security crisis.

Now, about 15 million South Africans had inadequate access to food.

Oxfam's Mthandazo Ndlovu said that rural provinces and informal settlements in urban cities were hit hard by the pandemic.

“One in every two persons in the Eastern Cape and one in every three persons in KwaZulu-Natal face hunger."

In urban areas, millions of informal workers have suddenly found themselves out of work and do not have access to sick pay or unemployment benefits.

He said that other middle-income countries, including India and Brazil, were also experiencing rapidly rising levels of hunger.

One of the contributing factors was a lack of democratisation in the food system.

"The issue of monopolisation of food market and food systems by multinational corporations is quite a common trend."

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