The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945

The world faces its largest humanitarian crisis since UN was established in 1945.

As citizens in developed countries are debating their stance on refugees, I wanted to take a moment to shed some light on this crisis. It is just one of several catastrophes currently faced by our fellow human beings across the planet.

Unless immediate aid is provided, millions of children and adults are at risk of imminent death by severe malnutrition.

Note: Numbers are approximate and sources include UN statistics and various news articles.

Definition of Famine

  • More than 30% of children under age 5 suffer from acute malnutrition
  • Mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people, every day

Crisis Overview

  • 20 million people in 4 countries are facing starvation and famine
  • The countries are Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and (Northeast) Nigeria
  • Unless immediate aid is provided, millions of children and adults are at risk of imminent death by severe malnutrition
  • Every day, countless lives, livelihoods, futures and hope is lost
  • Funding need as reported by UN: $4.4 billion, by July 2017


  • 18.8 million people (2/3 of population) need aid
  • 7 million people do not know where their next meal will come from
  • For 2017, $2.1 billion is needed to reach 12 million Yemenis with life-saving assistance and protection. Only 6% has been received so far
  • UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres will chair a pledging conference for Yemen on 25 April 2017 in Geneva


  • 7.5 million people need aid
  • 3.4 million South Sudanese displaced by fighting
  • 1 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished
  • 270,000 children are facing imminent death should aid not reach them in time
  • The cholera outbreak that began in June 2016 has spread to more locations


  • 6.2 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection (more than half the population)
  • 2.9 million are at risk of famine and require immediate help
  • 1 million children under the age of five would be acutely malnourished in 2017
  • Livestock is lost, water sources have dried up and many have nothing left to survive on. Women and children walk for weeks in search of food and water
  • UN has a larger footprint, better controls on resources and a stronger partnership with the new government than during the tragic famine in 2011, and a famine can be averted if funds are received. The funds are needed now


  • A seven-year uprising by the Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes
  • Malnutrition in the north-east is so pronounced that some adults are too weak to walk and some communities have lost all their toddlers

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Thank you and with love,