Pope Francis' Urgent Message About The Ongoing Food Crisis

As millions of people around the world face food insecurity, Pope Francis addressed the crisis on the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, which falls on September 29. He joins the United Nations in bringing more attention to the dire situation. A week earlier, U.N. Food Chief David Beasley said dozens of countries around the world were close to famine and called upon rich countries and billionaires to help people who are struggling to eat, which he estimated via the Associated Press (AP) to be about 345 million. There are several factors for the international hunger crisis, including lack of access to food as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Pakistan is just one of the many countries affected by natural disasters. According to another report from the AP, recent flooding in the country caused the deaths of nearly 1,600 people and resulted in damage estimated at more than $30 billion. As a result, Pakistan is facing a significant food shortage and the government lacks the financial resources to help. Climate change is a contributing factor to why the flooding happened. Environmental issues are also being blamed for drought conditions in Zimbabwe, where about half of the country's main crop, maize, is expected to fail because of a lack of rain during the recent growing season. As a result, the United Nations will address the food needs of 700,000 Zimbabweans through its World Food Programme, per Reuters.

Pope calls for reduced food waste

According to the Vatican News, in a message to Qu Dongyu, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, on September 29, Pope Francis highlighted how when food is wasted, it leads to greater inequalities around the world. The Pope also called upon people around the world to be conscious about their food consumption and to reduce the amount they waste. The Pope said that when food is lost or wasted, people are increasingly divided. According to Vatican News, people are being urged to redistribute the world's food versus allowing it to be wasted. Access to adequate food, the Pope said, is a human right and asked for states, large multinational corporations, associations, and individuals to help those who lack it (via Catholic News Service). 

Pope Francis emphasized that they need to act in an urgent manner to address the dire situation. He also made a plea to the world's people, asking them to respond. "We owe it to our loved ones, to future generations and to those who are stricken by economic and existential misery," the Pope said.