The situation for the 20 million people at risk of famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria remains dire, warned the U.N.’s chief humanitarian. “Twenty million people remain at risk, and 10 million more could join them without sufficient funding and improved access,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator Stephen O’Brien warned.
Food aid for millions of Ethiopians will run out by the end of June, according to the United Nations. The Ethiopian government appears to be playing down the crisis, for various reasons. But the UN says if nothing is done, the country’s food crisis could expand and destabilize a region with two neighboring countries already facing famine.
The world is witnessing a resurgence of cholera accompanying several hunger crises that threaten more than 20 million people in four countries. Some 100,000 people are estimated to be sick with the water-borne, often fatal bacterial disease in war-torn Yemen. Cholera outbreaks have also struck Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia in the past year.
Health experts say the international community has turned a blind eye to widespread food insecurity in Haiti, where communities across nearly every region of the island are approaching risk of famine.
The number of children fleeing violence and famine in South Sudan passed 1 million, two U.N. agencies announced today. Children make up more than 60 percent of the 1.8 million refugees from the world’s youngest country. Families face physical harm, psychological trauma, hunger – leaving an entire generation at risk of falling so far behind that they will never be able to catch up.
A budget deal struck by the U.S. Congress this week to prevent a government shutdown was viewed as a rebuke to proposed cuts by the Trump administration. Both political parties agreed to continue funding existing programs and went a step further by providing $990 million in additional funds for international famine relief.
There are now 1.4 million children facing acute malnutrition in Somalia, a 50 percent increase since the start of the year, according to UNICEF. The U.N. agency is concerned by what it calls the “triple threat of drought, disease and displacement” Somali children face.
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.