The pandemic has reinforced basic economic inequalities, none more defining than access to food. The largest numbers of vulnerable communities are in South Asia and Africa, especially in countries that are already confronting trouble, from military conflict and extreme poverty to climate-related afflictions like drought, flooding and soil erosion

by Peter S. Goodman, Abdi Latif Dahir and Karan Deep Singh

Relentless hunger is increasingly becoming a reality for hundreds of millions around the pandemic-stricken planet.

Long before the pandemic swept into her village in the rugged southeast of Afghanistan, Halima Bibi knew the gnawing fear of hunger. It was an omnipresent force, an unrelenting source of anxiety as she struggled to nourish her four children.

Her husband earned about $5 a day, hauling produce by wheelbarrow from a local market to surrounding homes. Most days, he brought home a loaf of bread, potatoes and beans for an evening meal.

But when the coronavirus arrived in March, taking the lives of her neighbors and shutting down the market, her husband’s earnings plunged to about $1 a day. Most evenings, he brought home only bread. Some nights, he returned with nothing.

“We hear our children screaming in hunger, but there is nothing that we can do,” said Bibi, speaking in Pashto by telephone from a hospital in the capital city of Kabul, where her 6-year-old daughter was being treated for severe malnutrition. “That is  ..