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April 11, 2017

Refugees at risk of starvation in Africa and Yemen

A South Sudanese refugee looks out of a truck before being transported to the recently established Imvepi settlement, at the Imvepi Reception Centre, Arua District, Northern Region, Uganda.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency warned today that the risk of death from starvation to people in the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Nigeria is growing because of drought, escalating violence and funding shortfalls. Over 4 million refugees in the region are affected.

Famine was declared in South Sudan in February – 100,000 face starvation, one million on the brink of famine – compounding an already dire refugee crisis. More than 1.7 million have fled South Sudan because of violence, the vast majority are now in Uganda – sadly, 63% are children.

Funding shortages are taking their toll on refugees throughout the region, most of whom are solely dependent on food assistance for survival. Food rations are being cut, as much as 75% in places like Uganda, and many have no means to grow food – access to agriculture and food production is limited.

Drought in Kenya and Ethiopia has had an acute impact on children – 175,000 have dropped out of school and nearly 600 schools have closed. In Nigeria, seven million people now struggle with food insecurity.

In Yemen, 19 million are in critical need of humanitarian aid and 17 million face food insecurity. Despite conditions, nearly 300,000 have sought refuge in Yemen – overwhelmingly, those seeking refuge have fled violence and persecution in Somalia.

UNHCR is scaling up operations in the regions, trying to avoid at all costs a repeat of the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa that took more than 260,000 lives.

Your help is needed…

UNHCR is facing a severe shortage in the funds needed to keep millions of refugees and displaced people safe. Your gift will help close the gap, and give vulnerable children, women and men hope for a safe future. Please be generous.