Study: Famine Looms in Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia

0

Obinna Chima with agency report

Prolonged conflicts and droughts have left an unprecedented 81 million people needing food aid in 2017, a specialist U.S.-based agency said on Wednesday, revising up its earlier estimates.

Furthermore, it said there is still a risk of famine looming over Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, and South Sudan, despite the international community committing about $2.2 billion to address the various crises since January.

In Nigeria, some 1.5 million people are on the brink of starvation in the northeast regions, hit by an eight-year insurgency by Boko Haram Islamists.

People in 45 countries are unable to feed themselves, said the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), which issues alarms about food shortages to the U.S. government.

Furthermore, it said there is still a risk of famine looming over Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, and South Sudan, despite the international community committing about $2.2 billion to address the various crises since January.

“Additional contributions to emergency appeals, particularly in these four countries, are urgently needed to prevent large-scale loss of life,” Reuters quoted FEW to have said in a statement.

The United Nations said it has so far received only a quarter of the $23.5 billion needed for humanitarian assistance programmes worldwide this year.

“However, famine risk will not fully recede until substantive efforts are made to resolve ongoing conflict and improve access,” FEWS NET added.

The agency said it had increased the number of people it expects to need emergency food aid over the course of 2017.

Its estimate rose to 81 million from the 70 million it predicted in January, due to a series of factors, including below average rainfall in the Horn of Africa.