World faces 'largest humanitarian crisis'

United Nations: The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine, the UN humanitarian chief has said.

Stephen O'Brien on Friday told the UN Security Council that "without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death" and "many more will suffer and die from disease."

He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid "to avert a catastrophe."

Without a major infusion of money, he said, children will be stunted by severe malnutrition, gains in economic development will be reversed and "livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost."

UN and food organisations define famine as when more than 30 per cent of children under age 5 suffer from acute malnutrition and mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day, among other criteria.

"Already, at the beginning of the year, we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN," O'Brien said.

20mn
Estimated no. of people facing starvation and famine

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