The world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, the United Nations says, issuing a plea for help to avoid “a catastrophe”.
UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said that more than 20 million people faced the threat of starvation and famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.
Unicef has already warned 1.4 million children could starve to death this year.
O’Brien said $4.4 billion was needed by July to avert disaster.
“We stand at a critical point in history,” O’Brien told the Security Council on Friday. “Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations.”
“Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.
“Children stunted and out of school. Livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost. Communities’ resilience rapidly wilting away. Development gains reversed. Many will be displaced and will continue to move in search for survival, creating ever more instability across entire regions.”
O’Brien’s comments follow on from a similar appeal made by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres last month.
At that time, he revealed the UN had only received $90 million so far in 2017, despite generous pledges. (BBC)