(NNPA)—As you read this, our world stands at a crossroads. As you read this, 20 million people stand at risk of starvation at the hands of what has the potential to become the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II; famine in South Sudan and impending famine in Northeast Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Our country has a moral responsibility to address this issue head on.
For famine to be declared, two children younger than five years old in every 10,000 people have to die due to malnutrition and one in five families have to have insufficient food to sustain themselves. Waiting for famine to be declared to act means you’re already too late.
Famine has already been declared in South Sudan, where hunger is expected to spread to 40 percent of the country’s population in the absence of humanitarian aid. The country’s man-made famine is a result of violent conflict in vast swaths of the country. Despite promises of access for relief efforts to these areas by the South Sudanese government, humanitarian organizations remain unable to gain access to provide urgent vital assistance in the form of food, water and shelter in many locations.
Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen are all on the brink of having famine declared. More than half of Somalia’s total population of 12.3 million are experiencing acute food insecurity and are on the brink of death from starvation as a result of drought. Due to conflict with Al-Shabaab terrorists, humanitarian access remains an obstacle in providing the country’s 6.2 million people experiencing acute food insecurity with the aid that they desperately need.