Without a major infusion of money, he said, children will be stunted by severe malnutrition and will not be able to go to school, gains in economic development will be reversed and “livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost”.
UN and food organisations define famine as when more than 30 percent of children under age five suffer from acute malnutrition and mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day, among other criteria.
“Already, at the beginning of the year, we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations,” O’Brien said. “Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine.”
O’Brien said the largest humanitarian crisis is in Yemenwhere two-thirds of the population – 18.8 million people – need aid and more than seven million people are hungry and do not know where their next meal will come from.
“That is three million people more than in January,” he said.
The Arab world’s poorest nation is engulfed in conflict and O’Brien said more than 48,000 people fled fighting just in the past two months.