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Calls for urgent financial support as 20 million people face starvation and famine


Jim Clarken Photo: Steve Humphreys

Jim Clarken Photo: Steve Humphreys

Jim Clarken Photo: Steve Humphreys

Oxfam Ireland has called for immediate and urgent action to respond to what the UN has described as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

The UN has warned that more than 20 million people across South Sudan, Yemen, north east Nigeria and Somalia face starvation and famine.

Oxfam recently warned that the world stands on the brink of an unprecedented four famines in 2017 due to a catastrophic failure of the global community to uphold its obligations to the most vulnerable of people. 

The aid agency is already helping over a million people in Yemen, more than 600,000 in South Sudan, over 200,000 in Nigeria and plans to begin a response to the drought in Somalia. Oxfam Ireland is appealing for members of the public to donate to its hunger crisis appeal.

Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive Jim Clarken said: “Yemen is on the brink of famine after nearly two years of devastating conflict. After months of early warnings, famine was declared last month in parts of South Sudan. In northern Nigeria it is likely that some 400,000 people living in areas cut off from aid are already suffering famine. The primary driver of these crises is conflict, though in Somalia it is drought.

“To see people in famine in 2017 is the ultimate betrayal of our common humanity. When famine strikes, it is not a sudden phenomenon. Going hungry is a slow and agonising process. It comes when warnings go ignored.

"We must learn from failures in the past to respond with sufficient speed. UN appeals for humanitarian funding have grown ever bigger yet the response has not matched the need. There is now a urgent humanitarian imperative to meet the $4.4 billion needed for the aid response for these crises at the required scale.

“If the international community acts collectively now with a massive injection of aid, backed with diplomatic clout driven by the imperative to save lives, we can prevent a catastrophic loss of life. Without financial support, an already stretched international humanitarian system will not be able to cope and many more people will die.

“There is an urgent need for increased diplomatic efforts to convene ceasefires, enable safe passage by those fleeing insecurity and secure access by aid agencies to those in need of assistance.”

People can donate to Oxfam Ireland’s hunger crisis appeal at www.oxfamireland.org/hunger 

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