The U.N. hosted a humanitarian pep rally in Geneva today, and raised $1.1 billion for Yemen. “Yemen today is experiencing a tragedy of immense proportions. Two years of conflict have devastated the lives of ordinary Yemenis,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the event. “We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation. We must act now, to save lives.”
The famine in South Sudan, unlike those created by drought in other parts of East Africa, is man-made. Anywhere from 100,000 to nearly 300,000 people in the region are believed to be facing starvation due to an ongoing civil war. The conflict has forced them to flee their communities, leaving behind crops or livestock, to hide in areas lacking food, and sometimes even water.
The World Food Program is running out of money in northeastern Nigeria, leaving millions of people on the brink of famine there in one of the most threatening positions among the world’s various crises.
The U.S. government’s approach to delivering food aid overseas is endangering lives, say a bipartisan pair of senators who recently returned from a visit to a refugee camp in Uganda. Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, are urging reform to better deal with 20 million people facing famine worldwide.
The U.N. again warned that as many as 20 million people are at risk of famine in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. Warnings in February were not enough to raise the money needed to prevent a global hunger crisis. So, new attempts are being made to convince donor countries to do more.
The Disasters Emergency Committee said it raised £50 million in three weeks to support humanitarian aid for people in East Africa. While it is good news in the short term, there is concern that the constant cycle of these emergency appeals fails to help address underlying issues.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Finance has decided to put a hold on a plan to charge as much as $10,000 per aid worker, a plan that aid groups criticized as wrongheaded at a time of great humanitarian need.
Two officials with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are traveling to East Africa this week to meet with governments and humanitarian actors about the emerging hunger crises in the region. They arrive at a time when $4.4 billion is needed to help some 20 million people, and the Trump administration is seeking to cut the foreign aid budget.
Hussein Dirie stands alone in a village he has known and lived in all his life. Outside of Somaliland’s bustling towns and cities, a pastoralist’s life is destroyed by a drought more unrelenting than he has ever known. Across Somalia and Somaliland, the U.N. estimates that 6 million people are in need of help. The drought is more severe and more extreme than any drought on record, and, so far, it shows no sign of ending while the U.N.’s Somalia appeal remains half-funded.
For this week’s Humanosphere podcast we’ll be speaking to Duncan Harvey, Save the Children’s country director in Kenya, about the impact of drought in the country. We’re speaking from Wajir, a border town near the Somali border in the far-east corner of Kenya – which is one of the worst affected.