U.N. needs $4 bln by March to ‘avert a catastrophe’ in 4 countries

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said the global body needs over $4 billion by the end of next-month to help nearly 20 million people who risk starvation in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

“Despite some generous pledges, just $90 million has actually been received so far,” said Guterres, about two cents for every dollar needed.

“We are in the beginning of the year but these numbers are very worrying.”

Secretary General Antonio Guterres said armed conflicts are having devastating humanitarian consequences in these countries, calling climate change a “key enhancer” of the humanitarian problem.

“Famine is already a reality in parts of South Sudan,” Guterres said. “Unless we act now, it is only a matter of time until it affects other areas and other countries. We are facing a tragedy.”

U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday that nearly 1.4 million children were at imminent risk of death in famines in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen.

“These crises are being driven by conflict and drought and we must respond accordingly,” said Patel.

Great Britain announced on Wednesday that it will provide additional aid money to South Sudan and Somalia, where there is a credible risk of famine.

On Tuesday, the European Union announced an emergency aid package worth €82 million to South Sudan as famine has been declared in the country for the first time since the country gained independence in 2011.

One hundred thousand people are facing starvation in parts of the country while 40 per cent of the population (4.9 million people) is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, the EU said in a press release, adding that the new EU humanitarian aid package will be used for the most urgent needs in the country and help neighboring countries cope with the massive influx of refugees.

About Geraldine Boechat 2737 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia