Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal as more than 30 million people in 20 countries are teetering on the brink of famine.
The charity says immediate humanitarian assistance is needed to help prevent escalating numbers of deaths.
The Covid health pandemic, climate crisis and continued conflict has exacerbated hunger and food insecurity in 20 countries. Countries like South Sudan, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Afghanistan and north-easter Nigeria are particularly affected.
In South Sudan, 60% of the population are struggling to get enough food to eat, and 82% are living in extreme poverty. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, six of the country’s counties are already categorised as being in IPC Phase 5 Catastrophe - which means people face starvation, death, destitution and debilitating levels of acute malnutrition - and 34 states are in the emergency acute food insecurity phase as people experience very high acute malnutrition and excess deaths.
Christian Aid’s South Sudan Country Director says floods, drought, conflict and Covid-19 have fuelled the crisis :
“I am gravely concerned about the scale of hunger we are witnessing, now escalating well beyond that formally reported in December, claiming the lives of the most vulnerable, particularly those displaced and already in dire need. People, at this time, are dependent on our good will and compassion. We need action now, but we also need the humanitarian system to act robustly, collectively, and consistently well in advance of the level of famine.”
The charity’s Head of Global Humanitarian Response is Salome Ntububa :
“The numbers we are seeing in some of the countries where we work are alarming and they are only getting worse. Covid has obviously had a massive impact on health systems, people’s ability to earn a living or grow food, and lockdowns are collapsing economies. On top of this, UK aid cuts have meant vital funding from crucial lifesaving programmes has been pulled, leaving the most vulnerable to fend for themselves in the middle of a pandemic.”
To give to the appeal and help communities in the worst-affected countries including South Sudan, please visit www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/emergencies/global-hunger-emergency-appeal.