World faces 'humanitarian catastrophe' as 18 million face starvation in Yemen

Posted March 12, 2017

Stephen O'Brien says there is a dire need of 4.4 billion pound till July 2017 in order to safeguard the people from the severe destruction. He said without collective and coordinated global efforts, "people will simply starve to death".

Its President, Jim Yong Kim, gave the hint in Washington ‎D.C. where he stated that starvation was a stain on "our collective conscience" as millions of lives are at risk and more would die if nothing was done quickly and decisively. Livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has already warned that almost 1.4 million children are likely to die from starvation and famine.

The largest humanitarian crisis is in Yemen where two-thirds of the population - 18.8 million people - need aid and more than seven million people are hungry and do not know where their next meal will come from. Ongoing conflicts and civil insecurity are further intensifying the food insecurity of millions of people across the region, and there is already widespread displacement and other cross-border spillovers.

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Twelve million Yemenis need life-saving assistance and protection for 2017, which will cost $2.1 billion. Some US$90 million has been received so far.

United Nations agencies say 100,000 people are facing starvation in South Sudan, while a further million are classified as being on the brink of famine.

In Somalia, more than half the population - 6.2 million people - need humanitarian assistance and protection, including 2.9 million who are at risk of starvation and require immediate help "to save or sustain their lives".

In total, more than 7.5 million people there need aid.

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"The situation for people in each country is dire, and without a major global response, the situation will get worse", he said in conclusion.

"It is all preventable", he said. But action needs to be taken, now. How is WFP working to help avert starvation in Somalia? "We're ready despite incredible risk and danger... but we need those huge funds now".

The humanitarian chief said in Somalia the current indicators mirrored the tragic picture of 2011 in the country when some 260,000 people died of starvation.

Nigeria has been fighting against the terrorist militant organization Boko Haram, which has killed 15,000, and displaced more than 2 million Nigerians from their homes. Extremely worrying is that more than one million children under the age of five are at the risk of acute malnourishment. Many areas in the north of the country are too risky for humanitarians to reach as a result of the ongoing battle with Boko Haram Islamist terrorists.

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O'Brien's comments follow on from a similar appeal made by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres last month.