The Oxford-based charity says global deaths from starvation have outpaced deaths from the pandemic.
The anti-poverty charity also warned the number of people facing famine-like conditions has increased sixfold over the past year to more than 520,000, fuelled primarily by the “three lethal Cs” of conflict, Covid-19 and the climate crisis.
In a report titled The Hunger Virus Multiplies, Oxfam said 155 million people in 55 countries have been pushed to “extreme levels of food insecurity”.
The report said: “Today, 11 people are likely dying every minute from acute hunger. This rate outpaces the current pandemic mortality rate, which is at seven people per minute.
“Ongoing conflict, combined with the economic disruptions of the pandemic and an escalating climate crisis, has deepened poverty and catastrophic food insecurity in the world’s hunger hotspots and established strongholds in new epicentres of hunger.
“What we saw as a global health crisis has quickly spiralled into an inflamed hunger crisis that has laid bare the stark inequality in our world. The worst is still yet to come unless governments urgently tackle food insecurity and its root causes head on.”
According to the Oxford-based charity, the Democratic Republic of Congo leads the world in the estimated number of citizens facing “crisis-level hunger” at 21.8 million. It’s population neared 90 million in 2020, according to the World Bank.
Other countries featured in the report’s list of top-10 “extreme hunger hotspots” include Afghanistan, Yemen and South Sudan.
Oxfam's report also provides a number of recommendations to address the crisis, including the international community providing emergency economic and humanitarian assistance to hunger and conflict hotspots, and global co-operation to “build fairer, more resilient, and sustainable food systems”.
It also calls on G7 countries to back a global vaccination drive and take “urgent action to tackle the climate crisis”.
The report states: “There is no end to hunger unless drastic collective measures are taken to end the underlying injustices fuelling hunger.”