UN warns of impending famine in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen

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FAO and WFP call for urgent measures to avoid the worst of the five food insecurity scenarios

The United Nations food agencies have warned of a drastic increase in malnutrition in Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Yemen and northeastern Nigeria, four scenarios that run the risk of falling into the category of famine “if the situation worsens in the next few months”.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) have updated their assessment on Friday and concluded that the combination of conflicts, economic decline, environmental disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated deficiencies among vulnerable populations.

Famine is the most serious category on the food insecurity scale. The last time the UN agencies declared a famine was in 2017, in some parts of South Sudan, a country that is now looming back into the abyss, since in Jonglei state a quarter of its population already suffers severe food insecurity.

In the case of Yemen, the situation in the regions of Al Jawf, Marib, Amran and Al Mahwit is worrying, where the effects of a war that has only worsened the fragile local economy are particularly noticeable. Much of the population already depends on humanitarian aid to survive.

In Burkina Faso, observers already detect that there are more than 11,000 people at the worst level of food insecurity, with two provinces – Soum and Oudalan – at level four out of five, while in Nigeria the evolution of the situation it depends on how the current harvest season behaves in areas like Borno, burdened by conflict and with limited access to aid.

The FAO emergency director, Dominique Burgeon, has stressed that this report is intended to be “a clear call for urgent action”, as agencies are “deeply concerned” about what may happen in these four countries in the coming months. .

The WFP emergency manager, Margot van der Velden, has warned that these four scenarios are “at a catastrophic turning point”, if Boien recalled that when a famine is declared there are already “many lives” that have been lost due to the way.

It already happened in 2011 in Somalia, with a famine that claimed some 260,000 lives. “The famine was declared in July, but most of the people had already died in May. We cannot let it happen again,” stressed Van der Valden.

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