We have to talk about hunger: humanitarian crisis affects over 20 million people
From the MSFs perspective, it is important to ensure nutritional support to the most vulnerable groups, especially children still not suffering from poor nutrition10/04/2017
It is urgent to gather global, collective and coordinated efforts, to avoid the deaths of millions of children, youngsters and adults in several countries, especially in Africa. This is a warning by the United Nations (UN). According to the entity, the world is facing the greatest humanitarian crisis ever noticed since WW II, with over 20 million people struck by starvation and scarcity.
A recent report by the organization pictures a critical situation in Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan. These nations do not have identical issues and the resources needed to avoid the deaths of thousands of children by malnutrition, for example, or to overcome the effects of armed conflicts, sum to over USD 4 billion. Even if the UN is able to raise the USD 4.4 billion they are asking, several factors will hamper the way these funds can be used, especially when we are talking about the lack of access to the populations, explains Ana Lemos, communications director at the Doctors Without Borders Brazil (MSF-Brazil).
To the MSF, the numbers presented by the UN, showing that over 20 million people are affected and some billions of dollars are required to solve the problem, should be discriminated and qualified. This happens because it is not possible to precisely map the food and nutritional situations in all these countries, precisely due to limited access by imposed barriers in the conflicted regions. The conflict is the factor that unites the four countries where the UN says the situation is most critical. Food and nutritional crisis are related to this and the main challenge will be the aid organizations access to the populations under volatile and unsafe contexts, she observes.
The MSF considers that, in order to respond with efficiency and effectiveness to the situation faced by these four countries and to ensure prevention coverage against the greater number of deaths, it is fundamental to reestablish the populations access to sufficient amounts of food supply. This can be done by food distribution – either by seed distribution or by reestablishing local commerce. It is also fundamental to organize long-term preventive supplementary food systems adapted for children. Another recommendation is to manage acute malnutrition cases to suppress them and avoid their evolution. Likewise, it is necessary to treat other diseases affecting children, such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea.
According to the UN, from the four countries, Yemen faces the worst crisis: two thirds of its population, something around 18.8 million people, only survive because of humanitarian aid. Chronic starvation this January reached 3 million people. The picture in this country shows that 14.1 million people are starving and that 7 million Yemenites cannot foresee when they will eat again. The country faced economic embargos due to civil unrests. Thousands of workers did not receive salaries for months. The conflicts, not only in Yemen, but also in South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, lead to the local economies collapses and absolute failure of health systems.…