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Fighting Famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen

More than 30 million people in northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are experiencing severe food insecurity, of whom 20 million are at immediate risk. Continued violence in all four countries is compounding decades of under-investment in agriculture, leading to a potential catastrophe if humanitarian corridors are not opened up quickly, and aid is not increased rapidly, to prevent millions from dying of hunger. The UN has issued an urgent appeal for US$4.9 billion by July for life-saving assistance in the key areas of food security, health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene, but so far, only $1.9 billion has been received. (OCHA, 9 June 2017)


According to OCHA (15 May 2017), 4.7 million people are estimated to be food insecure in the country’s most crisis-affected states (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe). This number is expected to rise to 5.2 million between June and August if adequate measures are not put in place. In addition, says NRC (5 May 2017), some families are so desperate for food that they have eaten their seed stocks, leaving them nothing to plant for the next growing season. Communities began to flee violence in northeast Nigeria in 2009, following relentless violence by the armed group Boko Haram. Some 1.8 million people have been displaced inside Nigeria since, and over 200,000 have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Now these countries are forcing them to return, adding to the burden of care on already very stretched resources.


According to the latest reports, there is an increased risk of famine this year in some parts of Somalia. To respond to the growing needs, partners have revised the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017; it now seeks US$1.5 billion to reach 5.5 million people with life-saving assistance in 2017. As of 11 May, donors had provided $634 million in 2017.

The number of people needing humanitarian assistance has increased to 6.7 million, up from 6.2 million, according to the latest projections by the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit. A total of 3.2 million people are expected to face Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phase 3 and 4) levels of food insecurity through June (OCHA, 16 May 2017).

The warnings are clear: in a worst-case scenario where, first, the 2017 Gu (April-June) season performs very poorly, second, purchasing power declines to levels seen in 2010/2011, and third, humanitarian assistance is unable to reach populations in need, famine (IPC Phase 5) is expected (FAO, 5 May 2017).

In addition, Somalia is experiencing the worst outbreak of cholera in five years, with nearly 38,000 cases and almost 683 deaths so far in 2017. With the beginning of the rainy season and projected flooding, these numbers are expected to increase to 50,000 cases by end-June. Cases of measles are also on the rise, with more than 7,000 this year, 65 per cent affecting children under-five (OCHA, 16 May 2017).


Famine is no longer occurring in Leer and Mayendit counties, and further deterioration was prevented in Koch and Panyijiar counties of former Southern Unity State as a result of immediate and sustained multi-sector humanitarian assistance delivered to the affected population since March 2017. The early detection of the deterioration of the food security situation into famine followed by the subsequent large-scale immediate response averted further loss of life, thus underscoring the importance of evidence based analysis and response. However, in June-July 2017, approximately 45,000 people will still be facing Humanitarian Catastrophe in Leer, Koch, Mayendit in former Unity State and Ayod County in former Jonglei state based on most likely assumptions of continued armed conflict, food shortages associated with seasonality, and humanitarian assistance delivery constraints ... In June-July 2017, in addition to approximately 45,000 people estimated to be facing Humanitarian Catastrophe, an estimated 1.7 million people are likely to be facing food security emergency (IPC Phase 4) - one-step below Famine on the IPC scale. (IPC, 21 Jun 2017).

South Sudan has now become the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis, with more than 1.8 million people – including one million children – having sought safety in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic (WFP, UNHCR, 15 May 2017). Agencies are now seeking $1.4 billion to help South Sudanese refugees in the six neighbouring countries until the end of 2017.


The recent closure of all Yemeni seaports is highly concerning. Even before the current blockade, Yemen already faced the largest food security emergency in the world, with more than 15 million people facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse food insecurity and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Yemen is reliant on maritime imports for more than 80 percent of its annual staple food supply. Therefore, a prolonged closure of key ports risks an unprecedented deterioration in food security to Famine (IPC Phase 5) across large areas of the country.

If all ports remain closed, or re-open but are unable to support large-scale imports of essential goods, Famine is likely in many areas of the country within three to four months. In less accessible areas with the most severe current food insecurity, Famine could emerge even more quickly. In this scenario, food availability would be severely constrained, as the potential for overland trade to offset the decline in maritime imports is extremely low. In addition, concurrent limitations on fuel imports would accelerate sharp increases in fuel and staple food prices, while the lack of imported medical supplies would jeopardize treatment options for life-threatening illness. (FEWS NET, 20 Nov 2017).

All Updates on Fighting Famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen

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10 Dec 2018 description

WFP food imports in mt

The chart represents WFP food imports for its programmes in Yemen, and it includes food commodities imported through commercial vessels as well as chartered vessels for humanitarian cargo. In addition to the food commodities that entered through Yemeni ports, an additional 904 mt of food entered Yemen through the land entry point of Shehen, on the border with Oman.

Source: WFP

WFP Fuel Imports

10 Dec 2018 description

Short-term pasture and water improvements likely over the Eastern Horn with late season rainfall

Key Messages

09 Dec 2018 description


  • Unfavourable prospects for 2018 “deyr” crops in key southern cropping areas due to poor seasonal rains

  • “Gu” 2018 main season cereal production estimated at 147 000 tonnes, about 60 percent above average, due to abundant seasonal rains

  • Above average “gu” rains supported substantial recovery of rangeland and livestock body conditions

  • Prices of coarse grains declined to low levels in recent months following local harvests and sustained food assistance operations

08 Dec 2018 description

Significant October to December rainfall deficits to result in below-average crop and livestock production

08 Dec 2018 description


  • Relief actor records at least 150 GBV cases in Bentiu during a 12-day period

  • UN records two aid worker deaths, 60 humanitarian access incidents in October

  • USAID/FFP partner reaches 2.3 million people with assistance in October


07 Dec 2018 description
report UN Children's Fund

UN agencies warn that an urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance is needed to save lives

As many as 20 million Yemenis are food insecure in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Already, 15.9 million people wake up hungry, according to the latest Integrated food security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, which is released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and humanitarian partners.

07 Dec 2018 description

Yemen: Acute Food Insecurity Situation December 2018 - January 2019

Yemen's Food Insecurity Situation Remains Dire Despite Substantial Humanitarian Assistance


07 Dec 2018 description

Key Points

  • Since the Nov. 2017 blockade food and fuel imports have declined and only one containerized shipped was permitted to offload at Hudaydah.

  • Since Nov. 2017, food imports are meeting 77% of estimated national food requirements, on average each month and 19% below the pre-blockade average. Fuel imports are meeting less than one-quarter of estimated national fuel requirements, with no change to the average since Sept., but still 6% below the pre-blockade period.

07 Dec 2018 description


 WFP strongly condemns the attacks conducted against girls and women in Bentiu from 19 to 29 November.

 With the support of DANIDA, WFP launched Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS) in multiple locations across the country.

 WFP has deployed three SHERPs - all-terrain vehicles - to Ganyel (Unity state), to be piloted for distribution of humanitarian assistance to hard-to-reach locations.

In Numbers

07 Dec 2018 description

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre has donated 140,468 bags of food assistance to displaced victims of Boko Haram in Borno and Yobe states.

In his remarks at flag off of distribution in Teacher Village displaced camp, Maiduguri Borno state, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja disclosed that 125,317 basket of food items will be distributed by the Center to 33,343 Households in designed camps and communities in Borno state for the next four months.

07 Dec 2018 description
report ACT Alliance

While COP24 is meeting in Katowice, Poland, to find practical solutions to the most pressing environmental crisis of our times, the effects of climate change are already taking their toll on the most vulnerable communities worldwide.

The drought in Somalia is a clear example that more needs to be done in terms of coordinated humanitarian response to prepare for the threats of global warming.

07 Dec 2018 description
report IRIN

"Any small change in their circumstances... will bring them to the brink of death"

Annie Slemrod, Middle East Editor

Samuel Oakford, Freelance journalist based in New York, and regular IRIN contributor

As talks opened in Sweden today aimed at setting a framework to eventually end Yemen’s 44 months of war, a new report stopped short of declaring famine but said that 20 million Yemenis are hungry and need food aid.

07 Dec 2018 description

“When the story of northeast’s recovery is told, the work of the African Development Bank will occupy a well-merited and prominent chapter - Osinbajo

The African Development Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria have launched the Inclusive Basic Service Delivery Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Programme ­ ̶ a US$258 million comprehensive multisectoral intervention aimed at bolstering rehabilitation efforts in north-eastern Nigeria.

07 Dec 2018 description

The humanitarian crisis in Somalia continues to be driven by conflict, recurrent climatic shocks, and political and socioeconomic challenges. Access to basic services remains restricted and protection risks high. An estimated 2.6 million people are displaced. One third of Somalis (4.2 million) will require humanitarian assistance and protection in 2019. Some 1.5 million people are acutely food insecure in Emergency (IPC4) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3); and some 2 million in Stress (IPC 2).

06 Dec 2018 description
report CARE

SANAA – (December 6, 2018) – As pockets of famine-like conditions are announced in parts of Yemen and the majority of the population are shown to be suffering from emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity, CARE urgently calls for more funding to prevent further catastrophe in Yemen. After almost four years of brutal conflict the country has now reached close to breaking point.

06 Dec 2018 description

Laura Schmitt Olabisi / Saweda Liverpool-Tasie

06 Dec 2018 description
report Save the Children

Media Contact: Erin Taylor 267.250.8829 (M)

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (December 6, 2018) – In response to the release of a new report on food insecurity in Yemen, Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director said: “Whether or not we call the hunger crisis in Yemen a famine is irrelevant to the millions of children going hungry every day and to their parents who struggle to put food on the table.

06 Dec 2018 description

Key Highlights

• Facilitated the 2nd Round of MHPSS Mapping Workshop on 11 July 2018.
The mapping workshop was attended by 43 participants from CBOs, NGOs,
INGOs, Government and UN agencies who are providing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. The information collected from the workshop will be then transferred into the MHPSS Partners and Services Profile and infographic map, and it will be publicly available in the next quarter.

06 Dec 2018 description

Nearly four years of war have spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis, killed tens of thousands of people and left more than 8 mln facing famine

By Isabelle Gerretsen

LONDON, Dec 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Peace talks between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and Houthi backed rebels in Sweden this week offer a critical opportunity end civilian deaths, aid groups said on Wednesday.