NEW YORK, 12 March 2021 – United Nations agencies are appealing for $5.5 billion in emergency mobilization to feed millions of people facing hunger worldwide.
The millions of food insecure people are at risk of dying from conflict-induced hunger made worse by climate change, according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The situation is going to get worse before it gets better, especially given the frequency and virulence of floods and droughts.
“Without immediate action, millions of people will reach the brink of extreme hunger and death,” the UN boss told members of the Security Council gathered to discuss food and security.
The over 30 million food insecure people the UN seeks emergency funding to support, are in every continent, but mostly in conflict-affected countries and regions of the world.
They are trapped in violent armed conflicts in regions like Africa’s Sahel and the Horn of Africa, as well as in countries like South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and Afghanistan.
These countries and regions are “just one step away” from a declaration of famine, Guterres warned.
About 60 percent of South Sudanese are “increasingly hungry” Guterres added.
According to the UN boss, the Democratic Republic of Congo experienced “the world’s largest food crisis” in 2020 “with nearly 21.8 million people facing acute hunger between July and December”.
People in these worst countries and regions “are not starving – they are being starved,” Oxfam International Executive Director Gabriela Bucher told reporters.
UN agencies have also sounded alarm bells about famine in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where the harvest season has been disrupted by insecurity and violence.
Hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans could be experiencing hunger, UN agencies and other humanitarian aid agencies, like the Norwegian Relief Council, have repeatedly warned since the armed conflict broke out in Tigray last November 4.
Last November, the World Food Program said it had received a little below $2 million to assist some 207,000 people trapped in armed conflict.
The beneficiaries of the Japanese assistance were identified as people at risk of dying from famine in Southern Cameroons and of northern regions of French-speaking Cameroon, where indiscriminate attacks by Boko Haram militants have made farming too risky to undertake.
“In today’s world, famine is human-made. And if it is caused by us, that means it must be stopped by us too,” the US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield was quoted as saying, by the BBC.