South Africa: Hunger Numbers - Millions, Millions, Millions Need Food

Philipina Ndamane holds up some of the vegetables she has grown in the Abalama Bezehkaya garden in Guguletu, Cape Town (file photo).
analysis

It's difficult to quantify the number of people in need during a crisis, but early indications suggest as many as 34% of people in South Africa have gone to bed hungry during the lockdown. There were millions of people living in poverty before Covid-19 and millions more now need food, urgently.

Gift of the Givers director Dr Imtiaz Sooliman was in Crossroads, Cape Town this week at one of the organisation's many food distribution points across the country. He saw an elderly woman break down and sob as she received a food parcel.

"It's the norm," Sooliman said.

"Every call, every social media message, all my toll-free lines, it's only one thing: We need food."

Most economic and social activities have stopped during the Covid-19 lockdown, and life has become more difficult for those already burdened by high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The vulnerable are now focused on survival and the most immediate concern is accessing food.

Images eerily similar to those from the 1994 elections show people waiting in winding queues for food parcels. Communities have protested for food relief. Gift of the Givers has received calls from people concerned about neighbours who don't have anything to...

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