The risk of mass starvation in four countries, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen is rapidly rising due to drought and conflict, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.
According to the agency, Some 20 million people live in hard-hit areas where harvests have failed and malnutrition rates are increasing, particularly among young children.
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said the warning is in light of the drought situations that we have been hearing about, that are also affecting many neighbouring countries and a funding shortfall that has become so severe.
We are raising our alarm level further by today morning that the risk of mass deaths from starvation among populations in the Horn of Africa, in Yemen, and Nigeria, is growing.
“We are raising our alarm level further by today morning that the risk of mass deaths from starvation among populations in the Horn of Africa, in Yemen, and Nigeria, is growing,” he added.
Edwards said the UN Agency is scaling up its operations but is impeded by a severe funding shortfall, with some of the country programmes only funded at between 3 and 11 percent.
“If you look just at the Horn of Africa crisis of 2011, 260,000 lives were lost during that crisis. What we want at all costs is to avoid a repeat of that kind of cataclysmic loss of life. It is, to come back to my point, what has to happen now is that funding has to come in so that we, the humanitarian effort, can try as best to do something about the situation, but already it is very late. he further said.
U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke said Overall the United Nations has appealed for $4.4 billion for the four countries but has received less $984 million or 21 percent to date.