20 Million People in Four Countries Face Famine

Families internally displaced by drought arrive at camps in the Tabelaha area on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, March 30, 2017. Somalia's current drought is threatening half of the country's population, about 6 million people, according to the United Nations. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Tens of millions of people are in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of man-made crises in South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen – all of which are driven by violent conflict – and Somalia, where ongoing conflict is compounding the effects of severe and prolonged drought. These crises are forcing people to flee within and beyond their country borders, disrupting agricultural production and livelihoods, and severing families from their social support systems. Ongoing violence – including deliberate attacks on civilians and relief workers – continues to prevent aid from reaching those most in need.

The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in all four crises. The assistance we provide includes: emergency food and nutrition assistance, safe drinking water, life-saving medical care, and shelter for those who have been displaced, both internally and as refugees, as well as protection for civilians. The United States is also supporting health, sanitation and hygiene services to help stop the spread of preventable disease – a leading cause of death during food crises.

Our assistance represents the best of America’s generosity and goodwill, while improving our national security by strengthening relationships with nations and people around the world. We will continue to work with our international and local partners to provide the life-saving aid needed to avert famine and to support surrounding countries, mitigating the impact of these crises.

See below for detailed information on the situation in these four countries.

YEMEN

  • 18.8 million people in need (69% Total Population)
  • 7.3 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG $276 million, Other donors $507 million

Although the food security situation would be significantly worse without the current large-scale humanitarian effort, including assistance from the U.S., ongoing conflict in Yemen has left more than 17 million people at risk of starvation.

More than 35,500 suspected cholera cases and 361 deaths have been recorded since April 27. The U.S. is responding with support for cholera treatment centers, water treatment, community training on hand-washing, messaging campaigns on prevention, as well as medical supplies, soap and other hygiene items. Yemen is experiencing the largest hunger emergency in the world. Learn more.

  • Although the food security situation would be significantly worse without the current large-scale humanitarian effort, including assistance from the U.S., ongoing conflict in Yemen has left more than 17 million people at risk of starvation.
  • More than 35,500 suspected cholera cases and 361 deaths have been recorded since April 27. The U.S. is responding with support for cholera treatment centers, water treatment, community training on hand-washing, messaging campaigns on prevention, as well as medical supplies, soap and other hygiene items.

Health authorities have reported more than 41,900 suspected cholera cases and 418 associated deaths across 19 of Yemen’s 22 governorates since April 27. Local officials in the capital city of Sana’a declared a state of emergency on May 14 due to the rapid increase in transmission since late April. Humanitarian organizations have prepared a cholera response plan, appealing for $55.4 million to address urgent needs over six months, and mobilized health personnel, procured medical supplies, and distributed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) materials in affected areas countrywide.

On May 24, the U.S. government (USG) announced approximately $77.1 million in additional FY 2017 funding to support humanitarian activities in Yemen. The contribution includes approximately $37.5 million from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, $29 million from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and $10.6 million from U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The additional funding will support non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, and UN agencies implementing emergency food assistance and nutrition activities, distributing relief supplies, and providing protection and shelter assistance, as well as health and WASH services in cholera-affected areas. In total, the USG has contributed approximately $276 million for the Yemen response to date in FY 2017.

UN and NGO partners continue to report access and security constraints due to the presence of armed groups, ground fighting, airstrikes, and other factors causing sporadic yet significant delays in aid delivery across Yemen. Nonetheless, relief agencies, including USG partners, provided access to safe drinking water, emergency food and nutrition assistance, and health care services to benefit approximately 4.8 million people between January and May 9.

In 2014 and 2015, conflict escalated throughout Yemen and disrupted the political transition process that followed 2011 protests over lack of economic opportunity, corruption and other issues.

The UN estimates that 18.8 million people are now  in need of humanitarian assistance (82% of the population), more than any other crisis today.

See the Fact Sheets below for the latest information on the emergency in Yemen and the response of the United States.

 

SOUTH SUDAN

  • 7.5 million people in need (63% Total Population)
  • 2.1 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG: $391 million, Other donors $728 million

Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February. An estimated 5.5 million people – nearly half of South Sudan’s population – will face life-threatening hunger this year.

The U.S. did not wait for the declaration to respond, and has been responding to humanitarian needs since the conflict began in 2013. Each month, U.S. assistance reaches more than 1.3 million people.

Approximately 7,700 suspected cholera cases have been recorded since June 2016. The U.S. is responding with health services, nutrition assistance, hygiene promotion and access to safe water. Learn more.

Violence across South Sudan displaced an additional 200,000 people in April, increasing the total number of displaced people to 3.8 million, including 2 million internally displaced persons and 1.8 million refugees sheltering in neighboring countries.

On May 24, the U.S. Government announced more than $142 million in new humanitarian assistance for famine- and conflict-affected populations in South Sudan and South Sudanese refugees in the region. The new assistance includes $17.6 million from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, nearly $62.3 million from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, and more than $62.5 million from U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to respond to the humanitarian needs of South Sudanese refugees.

Since gaining independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, South Sudan has confronted a number of humanitarian challenges, including population movements and returnee integration. Ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Two Areas of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan continues to result in refugee flows into South Sudan, straining scarce resources. In addition, many of the people displaced by violence in 2011 from areas north of the River Kiir in the disputed Abyei Area continue to reside in South Sudan. In the two and a half years since people of South Sudanese origin began returning from Sudan on a large scale directly before and after independence, vulnerable communities in South Sudan have struggled to accommodate more than 700,000 new arrivals, many of whom are rebuilding lives and livelihoods with few resources from which to draw. Inter-communal violence and general insecurity also persist in several parts of the country, particularly in Jonglei State, where fighting has led to significant displacement and deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Lingering effects from more than 20 years of north-south conflict, poverty, and continued tension with Sudan, which led to a cessation of oil exports in 2012 that damaged South Sudan’s economy, compound the humanitarian situation. Confronting deteriorating economic conditions, populations are less able to cope with shocks and increasingly rely on the humanitarian community for basic food and non-food assistance. However, insecurity, bureaucratic harassment of relief organizations, logistical challenges, and Government of the Republic of South Sudan-imposed restrictions constrain humanitarian activities across the country, hindering the delivery of critical assistance to populations in need.

NORTH EAST NIGERIA

  • 8.5 million people in need (71% NE Population)
  • 1.46 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG $227 million, Other donors $262 million

Years of conflict have limited access to food, health care, safe drinking water, and other services in northeastern Nigeria, where populations face an increased risk of famine in mid-to-late 2017.

Additionally, armed violence – including attacks against civilians and relief workers – displaces populations and restricts humanitarian access to some locations.

With U.S. support, relief actors are pre-positioning food and other resources, as well as scaling up humanitarian operations, to deliver assistance in advance of the May-October rainy reason. Learn more.

SOMALIA

  • 6.7 million people in need (54% Total Population)
  • 2.9 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG $227 million, Other donors $504 million

The risk of famine in Somalia remains high due to lack of rainfall, declining household purchasing power, high malnutrition levels, a widespread ongoing cholera outbreak, and humanitarian access constraints.

Sustained, large-scale humanitarian assistance will remain necessary throughout 2017.

In early May, those in need of humanitarian assistance increased from 6.2 million to 6.7 million in Somalia, and an increase in the population facing life-threatening food insecurity from 2.9 million to 3.2 million. Learn more.

PUBLIC DONATION INFORMATION · The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of NGO humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at www.interaction.org. · USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance. ·More information can be found at: – USAID Center for International Disaster Information: www.cidi.org or +1.202.821.1999. – Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at www.reliefweb.int.