UN appeals for urgent help as 20M people face starvation

World body calls on rich countries to do more, as it presses the need for $4.4 billion in emergency aid to respond to the "world's largest humanitarian crisis since 1945" in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Children cross a body of water to reach a registration area prior to food distribution carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Thonyor, Leer state, South Sudan, February 25, 2017.

Updated Mar 13, 2017

The United Nations has issued an appeal for rich countries to come forward to help the more than 20 million famine-hit people across four countries largely due to long-drawn conflicts there.

Terming it the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, the world body has pressed the need for $4.4 billion of emergency aid by July to cope with the situation in these countries – Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

The situation in Yemen is the worst: 18.8 million people are in urgent need of food as a result of the ongoing conflict between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels.

The humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Somalia also calls for urgent help as the country has been hit by a severe drought, subjecting over 6 million people to acute food shortages.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has said rich countries must do more to help these people.

His call for help was boosted by UN under-secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, who said, "Without collective and coordinated and global efforts, people will simply starve to death."

TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis gives more details.