The Worst Humanitarian Crisis: Tens of Millions In Need Of Aid

Currently, it seems evident that there is not enough coverage from the media onSouth Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria, despite the severity of what the people in these four countries are enduring. According to The Famine Early Warning System, the global hunger levels are at the worst in decades. In order to understand what is happening, I will break it down as the following,

South Sudan

Earlier the week, the UN declared famine in parts of South Sudan. The U.N. stated that the war and crippling economy has resulted in 100,000 people suffering from starvation in South Sudan. The severe food shortage crisis has been announced to be located in parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of South Sudan.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and other U.N. agencies estimated that a further 1 million people living in South Sudan are at high risk of famine and that unrestricted humanitarian access is urgently required in order to reverse what they called “an escalating catastrophe.”

According to a recent and updated Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, around 4.9 million people, which is more than 40% of South Sudan’s population, are in desperate need of food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. In addition, the data that the IPC report was based on was collected over recent months, and they added that the amount of food insecure people is expected to increase to 5.5 million in July if urgent assistance is not provided in order to reduce the severity of the famine.

Due to conflict last year, food production in South Sudan suffered and market failure has left the people of South Sudan struggling to cope with the massive change in price rises for basic food items.

The WFP aims to provide humanitarian assistance, which includes emergency food, cash, and nutrition assistance to 4.1 million people this year, during the “hunger season,” which is when food from the last harvest has run out but new crops haven’t come in yet.”
It is reported that the U.K. will provide South Sudan and Somalia aid packages of £100 million each after the announcement of famine in South Sudan and continued warnings of famine in Somalia. The U.K.’s humanitarian contribution is believed to help more than a million people, as it will provide food, safe drinking water, and emergency healthcare in the regions worst affected by violence and drought.

Somalia

The UN warns that Somalia is on the edge of famine, as NGO’s struggle to provide humanitarian aid for the millions of starving people. According to Oxfam, the recurring drought, decades of conflict and lack of infrastructure have left the economy in a fragile state. Currently, over 700,000 people in Somalia rely on humanitarian support as a means of survival. More than 2 million remain in a state of acute crisis. Due to the increasing violence, 1 million Somali refugees have fled to Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Uganda and 1 million Somali refugees remain internally displaced. However, the conflict in Yemen has resulted in thousands and Somalis and Yemenis coming back to Somalia, struggling to find safety. It is estimated that 336,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition.

People in Somalia are struggling to survive as the drought has limited water and food while the cost for basic foods increases. For example, the price of maize in Qorioley (Lower Shabelle Region) is now 51 percent above the five-year average, and the price of sorghum in Baidoa (Bay Region) is 88 percent above average. It is expected that these prices will continue to increase in the next six months.

Nigeria

The U.N. also warns that Nigeria will suffer from famine in 2017. UNICEF estimatedthat in north-eastern Nigeria, 450,000 children under the age of five are at a high risk of suffering from acute malnutrition this year, with up to 20% of them dying if we continue to ignore them.

Nigeria’s hunger crisis has occurred because of the uprising of the Islamic extremist group known as Boko Haram, which has perpetrated an immense about of violence. Since conflict broke out in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed and over 2 million people have been displaced, while it is estimated that 1.8 million people remain internally displaced. More than 10 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

On Friday, an international conference hosted by Nigeria, Norway and Germanywas held in Oslo, in order to discuss increasing funds for the crisis in north-east Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad region. The UN stated that a total of $1.5 billion was needed to ensure the prevention of famine. Donors pledge $672 million to fund humanitarian assistance. Aid agencies must get food to 3 million people before July in order to prevent famine.

Yemen

Yemen is also at severe risk of facing famine this year if efficient actions aren’t taken. More than 7.3 million people urgently need food assistance and more than 460,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition right now in Yemen, which means it has increased by 63% this year. Jamie McGoldrick from OCHA (office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) for Yemen stated,

“I think it’s creating one of the world worst humanitarian disasters. The possibility and threat of famine is looming.”

Yemen’s food insecurity began due to conflict, which killed thousands of civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. A Saudi-led coalition, which is supported by western countries such as the UK and US, has been the cause of the humanitarian crisis, as innocent civilians are falling victim to the violence, which is increasing the poverty rates and destroying health services, stopping people from receiving help.

Check out how you can help Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen as they are amidst one of the worst humanitarian crisis.

Aid Agencies Accused Of Profiting From Borno Crisis

(Originally posted on January 15, 2017, from Affinity Magazine)

The Governor of Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state, Kashim Shettima, accused aid agencies of profiting off of the Borno crisis and not distributing the money where it is needed.

The Borno crisis is the result of a terrorist group called Boko Haram, who is perpetrating violence upon civilians, which has caused widespread displacement and a growing humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. This has resulted in up to 2.1 million fleeing their homes and according to UNOCHA more than 4.8 million people are now in urgent need of food assistance and 5.1 are believed to suffer from severe food shortages if not helped by the humanitarian community in 2017.

The Governor accused aid agencies such as the UN children’s fund and UNICEF of profiting from money that is supposed to go towards helping those fleeing Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising. Shettima stated that only eight of 126 registered agencies were achieving “good work”, including the WFP, UN Population Fund, the Red Cross, the International Origination for Migration, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Danish Refugee Council.

The Governor made these accusations recently to MPs and journalists at the state legislature in Borno’s main city of Maiduguri. He stated, “people that are really ready to work are very much welcome here. But people that are here only to use us to make money may as well leave.” Shettima also stated that people were profiting “from the agony of our people.”

The Governor argued that the UN are wasting funds on bullet-proof vehicles. He stated, “We hardly know what the UN agencies are doing.” He said. “We only see them in some white flashy bullet-proof jeeps; apart from that, we hardly see their visible impact.” However, the UN have a reason for their use of expensive vehicles, as last year a UN convoy returning from a camp in rural Borno was attacked by Boko Haram fighters, in which everyone survived due to the safety and security of the vehicles.

UNICEF ‘s latest report said the agency treated 160,000 children under five who were suffering from severe acute malnutrition in 2016. They helped to provide health care for 4.2 million in the war zone, brought safe clean water to 745,000 people and in addition, they provided more than 1 million people with hygiene kits and education. Aid agencies have accused the government of hiding the extent of the humanitarian crisis, while the government has accused aid agencies of exaggerating the humanitarian crisis.

Refugees And Migrants Are Falling Victim To Human Traffickers

(originally posted December 26, 2016, from Affinity Magazine)

The number of migrants and refugees has been increasing worldwide over the last few years, which has resulted in migrants and refugees being more vulnerable to human traffickers.

A UN study found that an influx of migrants and refugees has contributed to a rise in male and child refugees being abused by human traffickers.

While it is estimated that women and girls make up over 70% of all human trafficking victims because they tend to be trafficked for marriage or sexual slavery, the UN report found that men and boys tend to be exploited for forced labor, porters, soldiers and slaves. The number of male trafficking victims globally has increased from 13% in 2004 to 21% in 2014. In addition, it is also estimated that the percentage of trafficking victims placed into forced labor has risen from 32% in 2007 to 38% in 2014, and of that 38%, almost two-thirds were male.

The UNODC’S global report on trafficking reported that children account for nearly a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide. In regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean, the number is increasing to around two-thirds.

Head of the UN Office on Drugs and crime, Yury Fedotov, highlights how those fleeing their countries from conflict are more vulnerable and prone to human trafficking, due to their devastating situation;

“The rapid increase in the number of Syrian victims of trafficking in persons following the start of the conflict there, for instance, seems to be one example of how these vulnerabilities play out.”

According to an EU report on human trafficking, which was conducted at the beginning of 2016, criminal gangs were the main perpetrators that were forcing and exploiting refugees and migrants into sex work and other forms of slavery. The report estimated that around 96,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Europe in 2015, which is around one-fifth of the total number of child refugees in Europe. However, the EU police agency reported in early 2016 that around 10,000 of unaccompanied child refugees and migrants went missing since arriving in Europe. During this time, around 4,700 child refugees had been missing, according to German authorities

It was estimated that Human smugglers have taken advantage of hundreds of vulnerable refugees, in order to make a profit by exploiting refugee’s misery. Last year it was reported that human smugglers accumulated a record profit between £2bn and £4bn ($3bn-$6bn.) Many refugees have little knowledge about asylum, therefore they are more likely to seek help from human smugglers, which is why human smugglers made such a large profit off of refugees last year.

calais.jpgImage of Calais Jungle camp via Getty Images

The Calais Jungle camp is a refugee camp in Calais, France, and is a prime example of the horrible conditions that some refugees have to endure, and how these refugees are vulnerable to human traffickers. The camp consists of disgusting living conditions, very basic shelter, inadequate hygiene, and little personal security. The estimated number of refugees living in the camp varies, as an operation to clear the camp has taken place since October 2016. It is currently estimated that roughly 6,000 people have been living there since the dismantling of the camp. Many of these refugees have fallen victim to human trafficking and young girls are at high risk of sexual exploitation.

The US Department of State uploaded ’15 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking’ on their website, in order for you to become more informed on the issue and what you can do to help tackle it. Donating to NGO’s can also provide refugees with safer living situations that will reduce the risk of sexual exploitation and other forms of slavery. Donating to NGO’s such as UNICEF, Oxfam, Rescue.org, Refugee Action and much more can help improve the life’s of refugees while tackling human trafficking.

Famine Declared In South Sudan

south-sudan

Earlier the week, the UN declared famine in parts of South Sudan. The UN stated that the war and crippling economy has resulted in 100,000 people suffering from starvation in South Sudan. The severe food shortage crisis has been announced to be located in parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of South Sudan.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN agencies estimated that a further 1 million people living in South Sudan are at high risk of famine and that unrestricted humanitarian access is urgently required in order to reverse what they called “an escalating catastrophe.”

According to a recent and updated Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, around 4.9 million people, which is more than 40% of South Sudan’s population, are in desperate need of food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. In addition, the data that the IPC report was based on was collected over recent months, and they added that the amount of food insecure people is expected to increase to 5.5 million in July if urgent assistance is not provided in order to reduce the severity of the famine.

The IPC report found that acute malnutrition remains a major problem in South Sudan. Using recent information, they assessed 23 of the 86 counties and found that 14 have Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) at or above 15%. Mayendit had GAM levels of 27.3%

Serge Tissot, a FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organisation) representative in South Sudan stated,

“Famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and our worst fears have been realised. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive.”

Tissot continued to add, “The people are predominately farmers and war had disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.”

Due to conflict last year, food production in South Sudan suffered and market failure has left the people of South Sudan struggling to cope with the massive change in price rises for basic food items.

Since an upsurge in conflict, humanitarian assistance from NGO’s has reduced the risk of famine in other regions of South Sudan, including Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, according to the IPC Report.

 The WFP aims to provide humanitarian assistance, which includes emergency food, cash, and nutrition assistance to 4.1 million people this year, during the “hunger season,” which is when food from the last harvest has run out but new crops haven’t come in yet.

It is reported that the UK will provide South Sudan and Somalia aid packages of £100 million each after the announcement of famine in South Sudan and continued warnings of famine in Somalia. The UK’s humanitarian contribution is believed to help more than a million people, as it will provide food, safe drinking water and emergency healthcare in the regions worst affected by violence and drought.

The UN also warns that Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria are also at high risk of famine.