VIDEO STORY | COVID-19

Expert sources:
COVID-19 or hunger?

Experts explore the challenges of a life-or-death choice for African families.

Reporting and production:
Malcolm Lucard

Videography:
Thibault Lauritzen

Prolonged drought, locust infestations, bouts of severe flooding and conflict have ravaged food supply chains in many parts of Africa. With COVID-19 closing key shipping ports, grounding most air transport and shuttering markets, many African households could face an existential choice: die of Covid-19 or die of hunger?

Even before the arrival of COVID-19, climate change was causing severe food insecurity in many parts of southern and eastern Africa, increasing reliance on imports. Photo: Hugo Nijentap/IFRC

The IFRC’s Michael Charles says the choice doesn’t have to be that stark. We can protect people from COVID-19 while also providing cash and food assistance, boosting local food production and better balancing the risks of COVID-19 with the many other worries facing African families. “COVID-19 cannot be seen only through the lens of its immediate health consequences,” he says. “It’s impacting every part of life, from the availability of basic food supplies, to people’s ability to earn the income they need to buy what food is available.”

COVID-19 has led to dramatic price increases and empty market shelves, while increasing people’s reliance on humanitarian aid. Photo: Sanja Gohre/IFRC
The arrival of COVID-19 impacted nearly every part of the food delivery chain in southern and eastern Africa, reducing and slowing down both local production and imports. Photo: Sanja Gohre/IFRC

Recommended

Related

What happens when machines can decide who to kill?

It’s the stuff of science fiction: machines that make decisions about who and when to kill. Referred to as “autonomous weapons”, they’re already in use to some degree. But as more sophisticated systems are being developed we wanted to an expert in the field about whether such systems comply with international humanitarian law and what it means for humanity to give machines the power over human life and death.

‘Wildfire diaries’ and radical change in communications

In this episode, we talk with humanitarian communicator Kathy Mueller who produced our first magazine podcast series, The Wildfire Diaries, about massive wildfires in Northern Canada in 2017. We talk about that series, her many international missions, and the big changes in humanitarian communications since she began with the Canadian Red Cross almost 20 years ago.

The power of storytelling

In this episode, we talk about the power of storytelling to inform and inspire. “Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of human communication,” says our guest Prodip, a volunteer and multi-media storyteller for the Bangladesh Red Crescent. “It inspires us to be a hero of our own community.” We also speak with one such community hero, Dalal al-Taji, a longtime volunteer and advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities in emergencies response. “In disasters. persons with disabilities sometimes get forgotten.”

This post is also available in:

Discover more stories

Get stories worth sharing delivered to your inbox

Want to stay up to date?

This might interest you...

Guatemala’s most dangerous road

Given the high number of accidents on the northern CA-9 highway, the presence of the Guatemalan Red Cross has been a relief for the community of Santo Tomás de Castilla.

Check it out