More than 20 million people are starving – Somalia says 110 people died from hunger in past 48 hours – Warnings that 1.4m children could starve to death this year.

The UN humanitarian chief has said the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since they began in 1945, with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine.

Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council that “without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and die from disease.”

“More than one million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished across the country, including 270,000 children who face the imminent risk of death should they not be reached in time with assistance,”

A UN humanitarian coordinator said last month that malnutrition in the northeast is so pronounced that some adults are too weak to walk and some communities have lost all their children.

“What I saw and heard during my visit to Somalia was distressing — women and children walk for weeks in search of food and water. They have lost their livestock, water sources have dried up and they have nothing left to survive on,” O’Brien said. “With everything lost; women, boys, girls and men searching for urban areas which in turn is creating more conflict.

In Somalia, which O’Brien also visited, more than half the population — 6.2 million people — need humanitarian assistance and protection, including 2.9 million who are at risk of famine and require immediate help “to save or sustain their lives.”

He warned that close to one million children under the age of five will be “acutely malnourished” this year.

The UN humanitarian chief also visited South Sudan, the world’s newest nation which has been ravaged by a three-year civil war, and said “the situation is worse than it has ever been.”

“The famine in South Sudan is man-made,” he said. “Parties to the conflict are parties to the famine — as are those not intervening to make the violence stop.” said O’brien. UN coordinators are hesitant to reply.

O’Brien said 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 don’t know where their next meal will come from. “That is three million people more than in January,” he said.

The Arab world’s poorest nation is engulfed in conflict and O’Brien said more than 48,000 people fled fighting just in the past two months.

Saudi Arabia have made a statement saying that delaying aid to Yemen is ‘killing children’

During his recent visit to Yemen, O’Brien said he met senior leaders of the government and the Shia Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and all promised access for aid.

O’Brien said more than 7.5 million people need aid, up by 1.4 million from last year, and about 3.4 million South Sudanese are displaced by fighting including almost 200,000 who have fled the country since January.

 

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