Yesterday, Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s under Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator released a report calling for immediate help to tackle food scarcity in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya. In his report, he appeals for vital and immediate aid to be sent to these stricken countries, or else we could face a “catastrophe”

The report follows a humanitarian conference in Oslo, where in partnership with the United Nations, the governments of Germany, Nigeria, and Norway to assist in the Lake Chad region, where 10.7 million people need immediate humanitarian attention.

Though during the conference, fourteen donors pledged $672 million to help in this crisis. In the report, he claimed that $1.5 billion was needed to help the crisis in the Lake Chad Region of Kenya alone.


According to the report, Yemen is seeing the largest Humanitarian Crisis in the world, with 18.8 million of its population needing humanitarian aid. 7 million of this number are living without secure access to food, this number is increasing. Some of this has been caused by Yemen’s severe civil war which has swept the country for two years. According to the report over the last two months alone, 48,000 people have displaced by the fighting.

This isn’t to say that the UN has not been able to provide aid, indeed in February nearly 5 million received food aid, and the UN are in negotiations with parties to ensure the safety of civilians directly threatened by the warfare.

South Sudan

Worryingly, he says the situation in South Sudan is “worse than it has ever been." Since last year there has been a rise of 1.4 million people in need of aid. Like Yemen, the South Sudan is in the midst of a severe civil war, which has displaced 3.4 million people. This instability has caused a cholera epidemic, and like in Yemen, there are severe food shortages which are threatening a growing number of the population.What's more is that the country is undergoing a severe famine which could further cripple the country.

The UN and humanitarian agencies have been trying to assist, and at times have been very successful, however, the conflict is so severe that aid workers have been killed and relief stations have been raided.


In Somalia the situation is incredibly desperate, over half the population, 6.2 million people need protection and humanitarian aid.

Over two million of which are severely threatened by famine and drought. Large parts of the country are under the control of militant groups such as Al-Shabaab which is making the lives of civilians in these areas uncertain as they have blocked supply routes and aid to those who need it.


The report ends with a call for action. While the UN is doing what it can, it seems more aid from the international community is needed. The threat of starvation faced by these many millions of people is real and without help, many may simply starve to death.

A major issue faced is that many of the countries suffering are in the midst of civil war or are otherwise controlled by militia groups. Ending these conflicts is of profound importance but the solution as yet escapes us.