Global charity provides $28.5 mn to 19 countries hit by drought

Nairobi: A global charity has announced $28.5 million to help families in 19 countries, mostly in Africa, facing the worst global hunger crisis in decades.

“The combined impact of conflicts, climate change, Covid, and the cost of inflating food prices has left up to 750,000 people facing famine conditions in Africa,” Gabriella Waaijman, Save the Children’s Humanitarian Director, said in a statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Save the Children said that 19 countries where extreme hunger threatens to claim thousands of children’s lives are Afghanistan, Myanmar, DRC, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon, Xinhua news agency reported.

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The charity warned that a further 49 million people could soon follow unless they receive immediate support, noting that failure to act now will prove catastrophic and could cost thousands of lives.

According to the charity, the number of people going hungry daily has doubled to 276 million from 135 million in the past two years, and now up to 750,000 people are facing famine conditions in five countries as drought collides with conflict and Covid-19.

The charity said the Horn of Africa has been crippled by drought after four consecutive failed rainy seasons with 18.4 million people facing acute food insecurity, raising fears about a repeat of 2011 when a lack of intervention led to famine in Somalia that killed 260,00 people, of whom half were children aged under 5.

Waaijman said malnutrition caused by extreme hunger remains one of the biggest killers of young children globally yet it is entirely preventable. She called on donors to join in and provide additional, flexible funding to support the scale-up of urgent lifesaving services to the most at-risk communities.

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