As 18 million people in Africa’s Sahel region teeter on the edge of severe hunger over the next three months, the UN released on Friday an additional $30 million from its emergency humanitarian fund, to boost the humanitarian response across four countries.
Food insecurity is set to reach its highest level since 2014, warned the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“Entire families in the Sahel are on the brink of starvation,” said Martin Griffiths, UN Humanitarian Affairs chief and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “If we don’t act now, people will perish”.
In the Sahel, 7.7 million children under five are expected to suffer from malnutrition, of which 1.8 million are severely malnourished.
And if aid operations are not scaled up, this number could reach 2.4 million by the year’s end, the UN News reported.
“A combination of violence, insecurity, deep poverty and record-high food prices is exacerbating malnutrition and driving millions to the fringes of survival,” said the chief of the humanitarian affairs.
According to the United Nations, the war in Ukraine has pushed food prices to the highest levels in the world. One billion and 700 million people in the world, one-third of whom live below the poverty line, are at high risk of food shortages and cuts in food, energy and financial systems, leading to increased poverty and hunger.
At the beginning of 2022, about 276 million people worldwide were in acute hunger, but it is expected that 47 million more people will be added to the number of these people especially in sub-Saharan Africa if the conflict continues in Ukraine.