Report: Record hunger in the PH as COVID-19 continues

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

AS the coronavirus pandemic persists, the Philippines is experiencing record levels of hunger, according to a recent report by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and job losses, Filipinos have started relying on food handouts to survive.

“Charities are struggling to meet the ever-growing demand for food as millions of families go hungry across the country,” the article by AFP reporter Allison Jackson said.

Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization, admitted that the Philippines is failing to provide food for its people.

“I’ve never seen hunger at this level before,” Jomar Fleras, executive director of Rise Against Hunger in the Philippines, told AFP.

“If you go out there everybody will tell you that they’re more afraid of dying from hunger than dying from COVID. They don’t care about COVID anymore,” he added.

One of the many unfortunate Filipinos who rely on charity drives every day to be able to eat is Daniel Auminto.

Auminto, 41, lost his job and then his home due to the pandemic, forcing him and his family to live on the streets and join long queues of mostly homeless people to receive a free meal from an outdoor food pantry.

“On some days, the family gets two meals from different pantries; other days, it is just one. Sometimes, they have no food at all,” the AFP noted.

Demand for food is constantly increasing, according to Father Flavie Villanueva, who runs a program in Manila where volunteers “prepare around a thousand meals of chicken, vegetables and rice that are packed into boxes and given to the hungry.”

“We started doing this in April and began with 250 (people lining up). It increased to 400, and then 600, then 800. Three weeks ago, it was 1,000,” he was quoted saying.

Fleras, meanwhile, said food donation drives might have to feed 200,000 families this year.

A September survey from the Social Weather Stations revealed that the number of people going hungry in the Philippines has reached a record high during the pandemic.

Nearly one-third of families or 7.6 million households did not have enough food to eat at least once in the previous three months.

Of the total figure, a record 2.2 million families experienced  “severe hunger.”
“For the country’s legions of poor, the pandemic is just another challenge in their lives — and not even the most serious,” the AFP said.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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