The Financial Times reports that across Europe and North America, the number of people to have gone hungry increased for the first time since the UN started collecting data in 2014, according to recently published figures. Nearly 9 per cent of people were moderately or severely food insecure in 2020, compared with 7.7 per cent the previous year.
Many vulnerable people in rich countries have been hit hard by the economic impact of Covid-19, said Arif Husain, chief economist at the UN World Food Programme.
“Even in the developed countries there are people not necessarily in the safety net schemes. They have suffered and they are suffering,” he said.
These include self-employed workers or those on temporary contracts, who are often not covered by insurance-based unemployment and sickness benefit schemes, and those working in the informal economy.
In Italy, the number of people living in poverty jumped 22 per cent in 2020 from the year before to 5.6m, equivalent to one in 10 Italians, according to the National Institute of Statistics.