2020 has been…a disaster, especially, painfully, heartbreakingly for families living in poverty.
Piyara, pictured with her daughter in their house in Bangladesh above, is someone who knows disaster all too well. She is a survivor of the devastating Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful cyclone in her community’s history.
Even before Cyclone Amphan hit, life in her village was hard. But this year, the cyclone was an additional crisis: families were forced to evacuate and move into crowded shelters, increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19. The cyclone destroyed the crops people depended on for survival in the region, and workers like Piyara’s husband lost their jobs while in lockdown for the pandemic.
I wish Piyara’s story was unusual. It just isn’t. For her, and millions like her, COVID-19 isn’t just a public health crisis: it’s the final straw before falling into the kind of long-term poverty that it’s nearly impossible to climb out of.
There’s so much at stake right now, . A global food crisis caused by the economic impacts of COVID-19 is spreading, and 121 million people are at risk of starvation. Even in the US, families around the country are facing hunger – one estimate showed that the number of families struggling to get enough food has doubled due to the pandemic. That means families in Bangladesh, children in Niger, and their parents in the US are all waking up each morning, wondering when they will next get something to eat.
We can’t let that happen. There are movements working in the US and around the world, delivering the most basic necessities, like clean water and soap, to prevent the spread of the virus itself, and providing food and cash to help people survive this hunger crisis and escape the cycle of long-term poverty. We’re also looking to the future and actively advocating for a COVID recovery that helps vulnerable families, like through providing a free vaccine to all.