‘It is literally horrific’: World Food Programme, Nobel Peace Prize winner, fights growing hunger emergency

“We’ve got a vaccine against starvation. It’s called food,” said David Beasley.

David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme, knows the existence of his organization is both a blessing and a curse: it helps so many, but that means many are suffering.

On Friday, that World Food Programme’s fight against hunger and work to prevent the use of hunger as “a weapon of war and conflict” was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Beasley, also the former governor of South Carolina, said the award came as a surprise, but is ultimately a testament to the organization’s much-needed work amid the pandemic.

PHOTO: Linsey Davis interviews the executive director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley on ABC News Prime after the organization won the Nobel Peace Prize Oct. 9, 2020.

Linsey Davis interviews the executive director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley after winning the Nobel Peace Prize Oct. 9, 2020.

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Nobel Peace Prize Shows the Link Between Hunger and Conflict | Best Countries

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the United Nations World Food Program for its efforts to combat hunger, foster conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war. This choice starkly underscores growing concern about increasing global food insecurity and the clear connections between hunger and conflict.

Today, more than 820 million people – about 1 in 9 worldwide – do not have enough to eat. They suffer from food insecurity, or not having consistent access to the right foods to keep their bodies and brains healthy.

Humans need a varied diet that includes a range of critical nutrients. Food insecurity is especially important to young children and unborn babies because improper nutrition can permanently stunt brain development and growth.

Hunger has many causes. It can be a weapon of war; the result of a global pandemic like COVID-19

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D.C. hunger report details pandemic’s effects in city

Nearly 150,000 District residents have filed for unemployment insurance as business closures during the coronavirus pandemic led to reduced hours and layoffs. And many residents have applied for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“I’m saddened by the fact that the numbers spiked up,” said George Jones, chief executive of Bread for the City, a nonprofit group that provides food, medical care and legal services to low-income D.C. residents. “But I’m not surprised, because we’ve seen similar spikes in our own food pantry and demand for food there.”

Before the pandemic, Bread for the City served 400 households in the District on its busiest days, Jones said. Now, the organization is distributing food to 1,000 households a day. The Capital Area Food Bank’s nonprofit partner network, which includes Bread for the City and serves the Greater Washington region, has seen increases between 30 and 400 percent, according to

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