The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945, the UN’s humanitarian chief has warned.
Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council that over 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria are facing starvation and famine.
He said that “without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and die from disease”.
He urged an immediate injection of funds for the four countries plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid “to avert a catastrophe”.
“To be precise, we need $4.4bn (£3.6bn) by July,” said Mr O’Brien.
Without the money, he said, children will be stunted by severe malnutrition, gains in economic development will be reversed and “livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost”.
UN and food organisations define famine as when more than 30% of children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day, among other criteria.
Mr 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.

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