Humanitarian Action

1.4 million African children at imminent risk of starvation

Conflict and drought have meant that 20 million lives are at risk from famine, according to the World Food Programme. Image: REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Alex Gray

Senior Writer, Formative Content

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A sick child lies in a bed in a UNICEF supported hospital in Juba, South Sudan, January 24, 2017. In 2017 in South Sudan, ongoing insecurity, combined with an economic crisis that has pushed inflation above 800 percent, has created widespread food insecurity with malnutrition among children having reached emergency levels in most parts of the country. In 2016, UNICEF and partners admitted 184,000 children for treatment of severe malnutrition. That is 50 percent higher than the number treated in 2015 and an increase of 135 percent over 2014.In February 2017, war and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine was declared 20 February, three UN agencies warned. A further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) also warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger. If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated. The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released 20 February by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people – more than 40 percent of South Sudan’s population – are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. Unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe, the UN agencies urged. Further spread of famine can only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the most vulnerable. Famine is currently a
Image: © UNICEF/UN053461/Modola
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Image: FEWS NET, OCHA, Southern Africa RVAC
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Image: FEWS NET
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Humanitarian ActionFood SecurityEconomic ProgressFuture of the Environment

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