The Sixth Seal: More Than Just Manhattan (Revelation 6:12)

New York, NY – In a Quake, Brooklyn Would Shake More Than Manhattan
By Brooklyn Eagle
New York, NY – The last big earthquake in the New York City area, centered in New York Harbor just south of Rockaway, took place in 1884 and registered 5.2 on the Richter Scale.Another earthquake of this size can be expected and could be quite damaging, says Dr. Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
And Brooklyn, resting on sediment, would shake more than Manhattan, built on solid rock. “There would be more shaking and more damage,” Dr. Kim told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.
If an earthquake of a similar magnitude were to happen today near Brooklyn, “Many chimneys would topple. Poorly maintained buildings would fall down – some buildings are falling down now even without any shaking. People would not be hit by collapsing buildings, but they would be hit by falling debris. We need to get some of these buildings fixed,” he said.
But a 5.2 is “not comparable to Haiti,” he said. “That was huge.” Haiti’s devastating earthquake measured 7.0.
Brooklyn has a different environment than Haiti, and that makes all the difference, he said. Haiti is situated near tectonic plate.
“The Caribbean plate is moving to the east, while the North American plate is moving towards the west. They move about 20 mm – slightly less than an inch – every year.” The plates are sliding past each other, and the movement is not smooth, leading to jolts, he said.
While we don’t have the opportunity for a large jolt in Brooklyn, we do have small, frequent quakes of a magnitude of 2 or 3 on the Richter Scale. In 2001 alone the city experienced two quakes: one in January, measuring 2.4, and one in October, measuring 2.6. The October quake, occurring soon after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “caused a lot of panic,” Dr. Kim said.
“People ask me, ‘Should I get earthquake insurance?’ I tell them no, earthquake insurance is expensive. Instead, use that money to fix chimneys and other things. Rather than panicky preparations, use common sense to make things better.”
Secure bookcases to the wall and make sure hanging furniture does not fall down, Dr. Kim said. “If you have antique porcelains or dishes, make sure they’re safely stored. In California, everything is anchored to the ground.”
While a small earthquake in Brooklyn may cause panic, “In California, a quake of magnitude 2 is called a micro-quake,” he added.

The irrelevance of nuclear deterrence: Revelation 8

nuclear deterrence, Cold War, post-Cold War, second-strike, mutual destruction, denuclearisation, Logic of Nuclear Deterrence, post-Cold War society, No First Use, nuclear confrontation, South Asia, deterrence, reassurance, territorial integrity

The relevance of nuclear deterrence in a post-Cold War world

12 July 2021

Countries have understood the importance of nuclear deterrence and it plays an important role in designing their security strategies.

At the brink of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the world narrowly escaped what could have been a nuclear war between the erstwhile Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US). Since then, many countries have built up their nuclear arsenals, especially the ones that are at loggerheads with each other, the most obvious ones being Pakistan and India. However, the pertinent question is: Despite officially nine countries having nuclear weapons, why has the world been able to avoid a nuclear war? The answer to this question provided by International Relations theorists is the “logic of nuclear deterrence,” which was propagated by academics such as Thomas Schelling and BD Berkowitzduring the Cold War. However, is this logic still relevant to explain nuclear conflicts in a post-Cold War world order?

It is undisputed that the world scenario has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of bipolarity. As the struggle for power between China and the US intensifies, there is a growing concern about the nuclear weapons that China has and its potential to use those weapons against the US and its regional rival India. Then, there is North Korea that has continuously declined Washington DC’s proposal for denuclearisation and continues to build nuclear weapons. This article argues that despite these rivalries, the world has been able to avoid a nuclear war and the logic of nuclear deterrence should be given some credit for this.

Understanding the logic of nuclear deterrence

The basic principle of this logic is: One actor prevents another from taking some action by raising the latter’s fear of the consequences that will ensue. Hypothetically, if Country A launches a nuclear war against Country B, Country B will be able to inflict enough damage on Country A that it would lead to what theorists call “mutually assured destruction.” Thus, in a nuclear war, both sides will be so badly harmed that it will be impossible to declare one side or the other as the winner. Even if one of them tries to attack and disable the nuclear weapons of its rival, the other would still be left with enough nuclear weapons to inflict unacceptable destruction.

It helps avoid a nuclear war as each side tries to secure their interests by avoiding a nuclear confrontation.

Kenneth Waltz has explained the logic behind nuclear deterrence in a simple yet profound manner: “Although we are defenceless, if you attack we will punish you to an extent that more than cancels your gains.” Thus, it helps avoid a nuclear war as each side tries to secure their interests by avoiding a nuclear confrontation.

The logic of nuclear deterrence in a bipolar world

Even though the USSR had a nuclear stockpile of 40,000 nuclear weaponsand the US had a nuclear stockpile of 30,000 nuclear weapons, they did not engage in a nuclear war. An analysis of the Cuban Missile Crisis illustrates that at its peak, a nuclear war between the superpowers almost seemed inevitable. However, the leaders were firm about not engaging in a nuclear war as it would cause destruction to both the superpowers. This is what prompted the US to intercept Soviet warships rather than engage directly and Moscow to passively withdraw. Deterrence led to negotiation between the superpowers as the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba, while the US promised not to invade Cuba and President Kennedy even agreed to remove American missiles from Turkey.

Problems with the logic of nuclear deterrence

Nevertheless, there are many scholars who have expressed their scepticism about the logic of deterrence by arguing that just because it avoided a nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and the US, it does not mean it is a “proven fact.” Nuclear strategists have urged leaders to exercise caution when basing their security strategies on this logic. For instance, North Korea threatening to wage a nuclear war against the US has raised doubts in the minds of many advisors and academics.

Nuclear deterrence is based on the assumption that a country will avoid starting a nuclear war in order to protect its own security.

Then there is the question of the credibility of this line of thinking: Should countries base their security strategies on a logic? Many have argued that the logic of nuclear deterrence is not an established norm but a “hypothesis” and, thus, basing a nation’s security strategy on it is a gamble. Nuclear deterrence is based on the assumption that a country will avoid starting a nuclear war in order to protect its own security.

Another major flaw with this logic is the presence of many uncontrollable variables such as the misuse of nuclear weapons if the control falls into the hands of the wrong people or a soldier deliberately starting a nuclear war to create mischief.

Why the Logic of Nuclear Deterrence is not redundant in a post-Cold War society?

Given the strained relations between countries, it may seem that the world is sitting on a ticking time bomb. However, despite this, the logic of nuclear deterrence brings reassurance. First, there is the cost-benefit analysis of a nuclear war. It is a given that nuclear weapons can bring so much destruction that the costs of war will outweigh the benefits and this would “deter” leaders from engaging in nuclear warfare. There is a renewed threat of “second-strike capability” that keeps countries from engaging in nuclear warfare.

Second, leaders who are driven by personal interests are aware of the fact that no winner would emerge from a nuclear war. Given the nuclear threats by Kim Jong-un to the US, it may seem that there is a possibility of North Korean nuclear attacks. However, why has Pyongyang not acted on these threats? The main reason is that Kim Jong-un understands that waging a nuclear war would result in “mutual destruction” and this has restrained him from a nuclear attack.

Despite China, India, and Pakistan having nuclear weapons, the region has been able to avoid a nuclear confrontation.

Another good illustration of this logic at play is South Asia — a volatile region with three nuclear powers who are at loggerheads with each other. Despite China, India, and Pakistan having nuclear weapons, the region has been able to avoid a nuclear confrontation. Pakistan and India became nuclear states in 1998 and have fought one war since then. However, the Kargil War fought in 1999 did not see the use of any nuclear weapons. The Deputy Foreign Minister of Pakistan at the time, Shamshad Ahmed, told a Pakistani newspaper that Pakistan is willing to use “any weapon in our arsenal to defend our territorial integrity.” To this, George Fernandez, India’s then Defence Minister, responded that in doing so they would “liquidate” their own country in the process. This shows how nuclear deterrence plays out when indirect threats are made from either side. On analysing Sino-Indian relations, particularly the Ladakh stand-off of 2020, it is evident that both countries are careful to not use nuclear weapons even as a threat. Both these countries have stated that the role of the weapon is narrowly framed for safeguarding against nuclear blackmail and coercion. Both have declared No First Use (NFU) positions.

Thus, nuclear deterrence is not just a Cold War term but is extremely valid in a post-Cold War scenario. Countries have understood the importance of nuclear deterrence and it plays an important role in designing their security strategies. It is used by countries as a bargaining chip to deter nuclear retaliation by other countries. However, it should be noted that nuclear deterrence is not the only answer to security problems and its application can be enhanced by using other strategies such as peace talks and confidence-building measures. While it is evident that countries have understood the importance of nuclear deterrence, the world faces the threat of nuclear attack by non-state actors as deterrence as a strategy may likely fail in such cases.


The author is a research intern at ORF.The views expressed above belong to the author(s).

ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.

US Pentagon warns of nuclear war: Revelation 16

US Pentagon warns of possible nuclear war

12/07/2021 – 19:40

Criticised China and Russia for developing nuclear weapons

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) has released a report which warns of a potential nuclear conflict and laments other countries for developing new types of nuclear weapons.

While the Pentagon makes clear that the US are proceeding with the denuclearisation of the country, other powers such as Russia or China do not seem willing to do so.

“While the United States has continued to reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction,” reads the report.

“Since 2010 no potential adversary has reduced either the role of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy or the number of nuclear weapons it fields.

“In addition to modernising ” legacy” Soviet nuclear systems, Russia is developing and employing new nuclear warheads and launchers.

China has developed a new road-mobile, strategic, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM); a new multi-warhead version of its DF-5 silo-based ICBM; and its most advanced ballistic missile submarine armed with new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).”

The two Pentagon reports

While the first report, one which was released by the Pentagon in 2019, stressed that the use of a nuclear weapon will “create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict,” the recent report claims that “flexible and limited US nuclear response options can play an important role in restoring deterrence following limited adversary nuclear escalation.”

Russia’s ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Serial production of the weapon is expected next year
Serial production of the weapon is expected next yearCredit: East2West

Russia’s ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic 6,100mph missile capable of wiping out US cities just WEEKS away from final tests

RUSSIA is set to begin final tests on its lethal hypersonic 6,100mph missile capable of wiping out US cities – boasting it is “unstoppable”.

The weapon will be unleashed at sea and land targets from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, according to defence industry sources.

The Zircon – or Tsirkon – which can hit speeds of more than 6,100mph – has been identified by Moscow’s state-controlled TV as Vladimir Putin’s weapon of choice to destroy coastal American cities in the event of an atomic conflict. 

The Kremlin leader has called the Mach 8 Zircon  “truly unparalleled in the world”, and the Russians have bragged it is “unstoppable”.

“The ship-based Tsirkon hypersonic missile system will carry out firings at land and sea targets from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov,” the source said.

Final tests are due to take place “before the end of July”.

The checks are expected in the White Sea, and the missile is on track to go into service next year, deployed first from the stealth-technology Admiral Golovko frigate. 

Tests of land and submarine-launched Zircons are expected by the end of this year.

A key use of the missile is taking out enemy ships and reports suggested its maximum range is between 188 and 620 miles. 

There have been unconfirmed reports, however, that its true range is some 1,200 miles. 

The missile system’s design and development have been conducted in deep secrecy. 

TEST DRILLS

It is one of a number of hypersonic missiles Russia is deploying with the 188 tonne Sarmat – known in the West as Satan-2  – and the biggest beast in Russia’s nuclear arsenal, due for tests in the autumn, and to go into service next year.

Meanwhile, Russia has been holding drills off Crimea in the Black Sea with the frigates Admiral Grigorovich and Admiral Essen practiced eliminating a “notional enemy’s warships” during drills in the Black Sea.

The first Zircon test launch of the missile from the Gorshkov was staged in early October last year – and seen as a 68th birthday present for Putin.

More test launches followed in November and December. 

In March, the weapon was fired a total of four times from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the Arctic, and military sources said all had “hit the ‘bullseye’”. 

Serial production of the missile is expected in 2022.

A radiation leak during a military accident that killed two and wounded six in 2019 was seen as involving testing on the missile.

Radiation levels temporarily soared 20 times above the normal level in Severodvinsk, a city lying some 18 miles from the weapons testing site at Nyonoksa (Nenoksa), according to Greenpeace citing the Russian Emergencies Ministry.

The West is waiting on Khamenei to determine the fate of the Iran nuke deal

The West is waiting on one man to determine the fate of the Iran nuke deal

Jul. 13, 2021 5:55 AM

The Israeli defense establishment believes that Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei has not yet decided whether to adopt the new nuclear deal with the United States. The final decision is in his hands and the chances that it will be signed may diminish after the inauguration of the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, on August 5. The Biden administration has been eager to secure an agreement before Raisi takes office.

The original agreement between Western powers and Iran on the restriction of its nuclear project was signed in 2015, but former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018. A year later, the Iranians began to systematically violate the agreement and increase the amounts of enriched uranium in their possession. Since U.S. President Joe Biden’s term began in January, there have been six rounds of talks in Vienna between Iran and the other countries party to the agreement to try to come up with a new version. No agreement has yet been reached, and the gaps between Iran and the United States have been described as wide.

After the Bennett government was sworn in, IDF Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi went to Washington and spoke with several senior administration officials, expressing Israel’s objections to the character of the evolving agreement. But Jonathan Lis reported last week in Haaretz that associates of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett believe Israel’s ability to influence the American position on the new agreement is very limited, and that practically speaking, the choice is now between renewing the old agreement or continuing the status quo of no binding agreement.

Breaking news and analyses straight to your inbox Click here

How Israel’s compromise coalition accidentally ended one racist policy

Subscribe

Nevertheless, Israel is on the one hand making an effort to toughen the demands to be made on Iran after the current agreement expires in 2030, while on the other hand trying to boost its coordination with the United States in the event of Iranian violations, and to get a defense “compensation” package from the Americans if Washington does reenter the deal. Bennett, at Biden’s invitation, is expected to go to Washington at the end of this month or early next month. In recent weeks, he has been devoting a considerable amount of time to discussions on the Iranian issue.

Israel believes that Khamenei greeted Trump’s loss in last year’s election with a sigh of relief because he feared a surprise American attack on nuclear sites, following the U.S. assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, in January 2020. (In a new book published last week, journalist Michael Bender writes that Trump said he decided to assassinate the general to enlist the support of hawkish Republican senators ahead of his pending impeachment by Congress.)

Biden’s election instilled hope in Iran, among both conservatives and moderates, and fears of an American attack have waned. But it seems Khamenei’s sense of urgency has also dissipated, and he may now feel there is no burning need to reach an agreement, despite the heavy damage that Trump’s economic sanctions continue to inflict.

Khamenei, 82, is thought to have a long-term historical perspective and is prepared to sacrifice and endure difficult times to ensure the stability of the regime. At this point, 32 years since he was appointed Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor, he is also preoccupied with the legacy he will leave behind.

“He would probably be happy to close a deal that would ensure economic relief and a return to the family of nations,” says a security source in Israel. “But he hasn’t yet decided. There is a cultural, even religious, preference in the Iranian system to reach important decisions by broad consensus. But the agreement will be signed when it is clear that this is what Khamenei wants. He is the final arbiter – and it’s very difficult to predict what will happen there. We do know that he doesn’t like to make difficult decisions; he prefers to postpone them as much as possible and keep things ambiguous.”

The countries involved in negotiations with Iran would also prefer to close a deal in less than a month, before Raisi takes office. Raisi, who is considered a hawk compared to outgoing President Hassan Rohani, is expected to appoint a long line of new officials in his government, and the bureaucracy in Tehran will probably need time to adjust. Although, as noted, the final word on the agreement remains with Khamenei, the role of the president in the process cannot be ignored.

Israel views Khamenei’s conduct during last month’s presidential election process as proof of his growing self-confidence. In the weeks leading up to the election, there was a sweeping disqualification of candidates, including outright conservatives, often on the grounds that they were not loyal enough to the Islamic Revolution. And yet the regime also has cause for concern, related to the young generation distancing itself from revolutionary ideas, the historically low voter turnout and the large number of voters who cast a blank ballot.

Breaking news and analyses straight to your inbox Click here

Sanctions didn’t stop Iran

While the talks in Vienna are being delayed, Iran’s nuclear program continues to advance. Iran is accumulating more enriched uranium and shortening the time it will take to produce a bomb. The 2015 agreement left Iran about a year away from producing a sufficient amount of enriched uranium. This period has recently been shortened to a few months. Meanwhile, the centrifuges that Iran is producing are becoming smaller and more advanced; future models will take up less space and be usable in smaller, more protected and more secretive complexes underground. The knowledge and experience being accumulated by Iranian nuclear scientists are also assets that no future agreement will be able to erase.

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced last week that Iran has begun producing metallic uranium, a significant component for the military aspects of the nuclear program. The agency’s finding confirms claims made by Israel as early as February of this year. Yet even after a sufficient amount of enriched uranium is obtained, Iran will still need to develop a nuclear warhead for a ballistic missile, a process that could take another two years.

The bottom line is that Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than it was in 2018, before the United States withdrew from the agreement, a move made by Trump under the influence of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Another move by Netanyahu did prove itself: The documents that Israel stole from the Iranian nuclear archive provided evidence of Iranian violations of nuclear protocols from nearly 20 years ago, which potentially complicated the regime’s relationship with the international community.

Tehran has account to settle

Between the rounds of negotiations in Vienna, there have been numerous security incidents in the region. The Iranians are behind drone and rocket attacks against Saudi Arabia and American military bases in Iraq and Syria; the United States attacked Shi’ite militia targets in Syria and Iraq; Iran attacked Israeli-owned ships in the Indian Ocean, in response to similar attacks it attributed to Israel against its ships in the Red Sea; and at the end of last week there was a wide-ranging cyberattack against the Iranian rail system.

In Israel, it is believed that Iranian attacks, most of which are carried out by Shi’ite militias, are expected to continue regardless of the negotiations in Vienna, because Tehran does not believe these attacks put the talks at risk. Iran still believes it has an account to settle with Israel, due to a range of incidents it attributes to Israel, first and foremost the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and a series of mysterious explosions at nuclear sites in Iran.

Still, Iran isn’t rushing to take revenge. It appears to prefer to wait for a suitable opportunity before making an appropriate move. “The perception of time there is incredibly elastic,” says a security source. “There’s no panic; everything depends on the needs of the regime and its constraints.”

At the end of last year, the Iranians’ regional balance seemed negative and was even causing them some worry. That was connected to a series of developments, some of which stemmed from American moves and some from Israeli ones: The assassinations of Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh; air force attacks in Syria; the pressure of the economic sanctions; the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic; and the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Since then, however, from the Iranian perspective there has been a marked improvement in the regional power they’ve managed to project: Saudi Arabia has gotten a cold shoulder from Biden and his people while absorbing heavy drone attacks from the Houthi rebels in Yemen; the United States has suffered attacks in Iraq, while Iran is continuing to make progress in both its nuclear project and in weapons development

Europe must recognize Israel is under attack outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Yair Lapid: Europe must recognize Israel is under attack

The foreign minister pointed out that Iran backs Hezbollah north of Israel and Hamas in Gaza, to Israel’s South.

“Something good is happening between us and the moderates in the Arab world,” he said. “I want to broaden the circle of peace to additional states.”
Israel would like that circle to include the Palestinians, Lapid said, expressing support for a two-state solution.“Unfortunately, there is no possibility at the moment,” he said. “There is one thing we need to remember. If there will be a Palestinian state, it needs to be a peace-seeking democracy... You cannot ask us to build with our own hands another threat to our lives.” We can ensure that steps taken now do not prevent peace in the future and will improve the Palestinians’ lives, Lapid said, adding that he is in favor of “everything humanitarian… everything that builds the Palestinian economy.”Among Lapid’s goals for the visit were to push for the Israel-EU Association Council to reconvene. The Association Council is meant to ensure dialogue and improved ties between the parties. It has not met since 2012, with some member states blocking it in protest over Operation Protective Edge in 2014, then settlements and other policies toward the Palestinians. Borrell has been in favor of restarting it for nearly a year.
Lapid also seeks to advance new Israel-EU partnerships, such as having Israel join the €1.46 billion Euro Creative Europe culture and arts program, EuroPol for policing and security and ensuring that negotiations over Horizon Europe, the scientific research program Israel has long participated in, go well.The foreign minister received positive responses to inquiries about the partnerships and plans to take concrete action toward forging them. Lapid met with Borrell one-on-one on Sunday, and they discussed EU-Israel bilateral ties. The Foreign Ministry’s statement on the meeting emphasized talks about economic ties.
“They discussed the importance of enhancing EU-Israel relations and considered how to address together existing challenges in order to achieve this common goal,” an EU statement said. They also spoke about “how the dialogue with the Palestinians can be moved forward.” Lapid then met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag and Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek.
Lapid met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of his meeting with the FAC and invited him to visit Israel.
Israel seeks to deepen its cooperation with NATO in intelligence, cybersecurity, missile defense and other areas, Lapid said. Israel and NATO share values and a view of broad challenges and threats, he told Stoltenberg

The famine deepens: Revelation 6:9

In this Saturday, May 8, 2021, photo, an Ethiopian woman scoops up grains of wheat after it was distributed by the Relief Society of Tigray in the town of Agula, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. As the United States warns that up to 900,000 people in Tigray face famine conditions in the world’s… (Associated Press)

UN: world hunger was dramatically worse in pandemic year

By FRANCES D’EMILIO and EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press4 hours, 38 minutes ago

ROME (AP) — The United Nations on Monday lamented a “dramatic worsening” of world hunger last year, saying much of that is likely connected to the pandemic, and it urged billions of dollars to save millions of people from starving. 

A report issued jointly by five U.N. agencies said hunger outpaced population growth in 2020, with nearly 10% of all people estimated to be undernourished.

It said the sharpest rise in hunger came in Africa, where 21% of the people — 282 million — are estimated to be undernourished.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the new “tragic data” shows that between 720 million and 811 million people in the world faced hunger last year — as many as 161 million more than in 2019.

More than 2.3 billion people, which represents 30% of the global population, lacked year-round access to adequate food, according to the report. This indicator, known as the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity, leaped in one year as much as in the five previous years combined.

“Despite a 300% increase in global food production since the mid-1960s, malnutrition is a leading factor contributing to reduced life expectancy,” the U.N. chief said. “In a world of plenty, we have no excuse for billions of people to lack access to a healthy diet. This is unacceptable.”

Emily Farr of the humanitarian organization Oxfam said the pandemic was the last straw for millions of people already battered by the impacts of conflict, economic shocks and a worsening climate crisis.

Children paid a high price, with 149 million of those younger than 5 estimated to have stunted growth since they are too short for their age, and more than 45 million children are too thin for their height, the report said. It also noted the paradoxical problem of nearly 39 million children being overweight.

A full 3 billion adults and children remain locked out of healthy diets, largely due to excessive costs,? the U.N. agencies said, and COVID-19 made things worse.

“In many parts of the world, the pandemic has triggered brutal recessions and jeopardized access to food,? the United Nations said in a summary of its findings. ”Yet even before the pandemic, hunger was spreading; progress on malnutrition lagged.”

“Disturbingly, in 2020 hunger shot up in both absolute and proportional terms, outpacing population growth,” the report’s authors concluded. The report said some 9.9% of the world’s people were estimated to have been undernourished last year, compared to 8.4% in 2019.

Geographically, in addition to the surge of Africans facing hunger, more than half the undernourished people — 418 million — live in Asia, while 60 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the report.

Oxfam’s Farr said the new figures “are a somber reminder of how broken our global food and economic systems are.”

“More than half the world’s population did not have social protection to cope with the adverse effects of the pandemic,” she said. “Small farmers were forced to watch their crops rot during the pandemic, even when global food prices rose by 40%, while the biggest food companies have amassed over $10 billion of additional revenues last year.”

The United Nations said the pandemic undercut a key U.N. goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030. Based on current trends, it estimates that the goal will be “missed by a margin of nearly 660 million people,” and that some 30 million of that figure “may be linked to the pandemic’s lasting effects.”

Guterres said he is convening a global Food Systems Summit during this September’s annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly “to urgently make a change.” He said a pre-summit meeting in Rome at the end of this month is to work out “how we must address hunger, the climate emergency, incredible inequality and conflict, by transforming our food systems.”

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report was prepared by U.N. agencies including the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The other two agencies were the the United Nations Children’s Fund, commonly known as UNICEF, which is based in New York, and the World Health Organization, or WHO, headquartered in Geneva.

Among the U.N.’s recommendations was one calling for strengthening “the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity,” such as through programs to lessen the impact “pandemic-style shocks” or steep food price increases.

Maximo Torero, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s chief economist, said removing 100 million people from chronic undernourishment would require an additional $14 billion a year until 2030 — and to achieve the goal of zero hunger by 2030 “we were talking about $40 billion.”

___

Lederer reported from the United Nations