The United Nations has released $100 million in emergency funding to seven countries deemed at risk of famine in Africa and the Middle East. This is coming amid COVID-19 pandemic, conflict-induced internal displacement among other humanitarian challenges.
In a statement, it said $80 million of the funds will go to Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen. An extra $20 million is set aside for “anticipatory action to fight hunger in Ethiopia,” where internecine clashes erupted this month in the restive northern Tigray region.
In the ’80s, the blockade of food supply and trade in Tigray, led to famine. This is a typical strategy of state-sponsored wars in the past in Ethiopia.
U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said a slip into a world where famines are commonplace would be obscene.
“Without immediate action, famine could be a reality in the coming months in parts of Burkina Faso, northeast Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen. This would be the first time famine has been declared since 2017 in parts of South Sudan,” the statement said.
The U.N said the money will target the most vulnerable, especially women, girls and people with disabilities.
From the breakdown, Afghanistan where over 3 million people are in need of food gets $15 million, Burkina Faso $6 million, Congo $7 million, northeastern Nigeria $15 million, South Sudan $7 million, and Yemen $30 million.
The U.N announcement comes on the heels of a Care report published last week warning that the number of people going through serious food insecurity could nearly double before the end of 2020. The affected countries have been destabilised by the pandemic, conflict, or activities of extremist groups.