CAIRO: The anti-poverty organisation Oxfam says 11 people die of hunger each minute and that the number facing famine-like conditions around the globe has increased six times over the last year.

In a report titled The Hunger Virus Multiplies, Oxfam said on Thursday that the death toll from famine outpaces that of Covid-19, which kills around seven people per minute.

The statistics are staggering, but we must remember that these figures are made up of individual people facing unimaginable suffering. Even one person is too many, said Oxfam Americas President and CEO Abby Maxman.

The humanitarian group also said that 155 million people around the worldinfo-icon now live at crisis levels of foodinfo-icon insecurity or worse some 20 million more than last year. Around two-thirds of them face hunger because their country is in military conflictinfo-icon.

Today, unrelenting conflict on top of the Covid-19 economic fallout, and a worsening climate crisis, has pushed more than 520,000 people to the brink of starvation, added Maxman. Instead of battling the pandemic, warring parties fought each other, too often landing the last blow to millions already battered by weather disasters and economic shocks.

Despite the pandemic, Oxfam said that global military spending increased by $51 billion during the pandemic an amount that exceeds by at least six times what the UN needs to stop hunger.

The report listed a number of countries as the worst hunger hot spots including Afghanistaninfo-icon, Ethiopia, South Sudaninfo-icon, Syriainfo-icon, and Yemeninfo-icon all embroiled in conflict.

Starvation continues to be used as a weapon of warinfo-icon, depriving civilians of food and water and impeding humanitarian relief. People can't live safely or find food when their markets are being bombed and crops and livestock are destroyed, said Maxman.

The organisation urged governments to stop conflicts from continuing to spawn catastrophic hunger and to ensure that relief agenciesinfo-icon could operate in conflict zones and reach those in need. It also called on donor countries to "immediately and fully fund the UN's efforts to alleviate hunger.

Meanwhile, global warminginfo-icon and the economic repercussions of the pandemic have caused a 40 per cent increase in global food prices, the highest in over a decade. This surge has contributed significantly to pushing tens of millions more people into hunger, said the report.