By Tahia Asad of Purple Sheek Media
Being home to 160 million people, Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. About 32 percent, approximately 50 million people still live in extreme poverty due to economic inequality.
Compounded by fewer lands for cultivation, and climate changes leading to recurrent natural disasters, Bangladesh has struggled immensely with food. Despite tripling its rice production, decreasing infant mortality rates, and campaigns combating malnutrition (one in three children are afflicted by stunted growth due to acute malnutrition), 60 million people are still hungry even today.
Despite the breathtaking natural beauty of hills, forests, lakes, and springs in Chittagong, the region suffers from a shortage of fertile land, making local people highly food insecure. During the lean period between planting and harvesting, and the rainy season from May to August, many families suffer from chronic hunger due to dwindling food stocks and losses of income.
A leading economist from the World Bank warned in 2020 that Covid-19 would throw approximately 50 million into poverty in Bangladesh.
And it did.
Here is how the pandemic is worsening hunger:
- Farmers are suffering a significant loss as prices of their products are sold at half the price, and markets are closed with fewer traders operating.
- Ethnic communities in remote areas have faced challenges getting food from state-run food schemes
- With factories shut down and workers laid off, there is no indication of when operations will resume, causing workers and their families to starve
- The number of Bangladeshis laid off has increased dramatically and income has fallen significantly. The poverty rate is increasing and is likely to hit the millions in Bangladesh who are already food insecure.
Underprivileged people have few options during crises such as these and rely on the government to support them. In contrast, government officials claim Bangladesh has good food production and enough food stock, so a food crisis due to the pandemic is unlikely.
However, economists have warned that loss of income and declining purchase capacity would mean people in large numbers will not have access to food despite a steady supply.
If you are willing to help the poor who are already suffering the winter months, to combat hunger, please consider donating to a reliable charity foundation or through us. Every cent counts, and they need us now more than ever. You can also have a look at the other campaigns we are running, to help Bangladesh suffer a little less.