Another one of my articles, just published on Impakter, here is the opening:
Famine was supposed to be a thing of the past. True, 75 million people had died from starvation in the 20th century, but we had learned from these tragedies, how to predict them and how to address them. The largest famines dated back two decades: in the Horn of Africa in 1984-85 and 1992, and in North Korea in the mid-1990s. There had been only one serious famine in the 21st century, and it had occurred in Somalia in 2011, killing 260,000 people.
Now, all of a sudden, the scourge of starvation is back. The news came out over a month ago: 20 million people facing starvation, including 1.4 million children at “imminent risk of death”. The United Nations famine alert concerned four disconnected countries, across Africa and the Arabian peninsula: Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
IN THIS PHOTO: Photo was taken in Radfan village in Lahj city. It shows a young girl who is collecting water from a far distance due the water shortage in Yemen. PHOTO CREDIT: UNICEF/UN018342/ASKOOL
THE FOUR-COUNTRY FAMINE: 20 MILLION PEOPLE AT RISK
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres did not mince his words at the press conference he held on 22 February in New York. This was a humanitarian crisis in-the-making, it was without precedent in scope and a total of $ 4.4 billion would be needed by the end of March to “avert a catastrophe” (see full transcript here). The Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien and several UN agencies heads (or their representatives) participated in that conference, including WFP (via video), UNDP, UNICEF and FAO (remarkably, not UNHCR).
Even though this was the largest alert in the 21st century and nobody had heard of anything like this for decades, the UN Secretary General’s appeal fell on deaf ears.
Was it a case of crying wolf too many times?
Read the rest on Impakter, click here.