Islamic Relief launches an emergency appeal as famine looms

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Today, Islamic Relief Australia launches an emergency appeal as the list of countries on the brink of famine rises. The organisation warns that people in the countries of Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia will succumb to starvation, disease, malnutrition and death if immediate action is not taken to combat global hunger.

According to the latest UN Food Security and Nutrition Report 2021, more than 800 million people faced hunger in 2020, dimming the hopes of reaching targets on reducing hunger and malnutrition set in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Acting on the global needs assessment conducted by Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), Islamic Relief Australia is committed to launch an appeal to raise funds for vulnerable communities in Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Famine is defined as an inability to access food supplies that can adequately feed a region or country. It is the most serious type of food insecurity in both severity and scale and is judged on whether a significant proportion of a region or countries deaths are due to a lack of food or a combination of disease and lack of food.

In Afghanistan droughts have left at least 13 million people facing a food crisis and up to 9.5 million potentially experiencing food insecurity. The drought is worsening an already dire situation where political insecurity, COVID-19 and extreme conflict has left millions in need of humanitarian assistance. As per Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan 2021, 18.4 million people need humanitarian assistance, which is nearly half the population. Support our work in providing food security, accessible and clean water, shelter and protection to families and individuals in the crisis hit areas of Badakshan, Daykundi, Ghor, and Faryab, Herat and Kabul (rural) and Nangarhar.

In Yemen, 16.2 million people are food insecure and over 400,000 are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition and could die without urgent intervention. As the conflict worsens and the economy declines, over 5 million people in Yemen are on the brink of food insecurity leaving families struggling to find enough food to get through the day. Yemen has one of the highest child and women malnutrition rates in the world as the nutrition situation continues to worsen and rates of disease heighten.

In Northern Ethiopia 400,000 people are already living in severe condition. After nearly eight months of fighting, the conflict has put more than 5.2 million in need of emergency food assistance to avoid starvation. Over 2 million people have been displaced and tens of thousands have fled to neighboring Sudan.

South Sudan is facing one of the worst food security and nutrition crises globally, as an estimated 60% of the population (7.2 million) are expected to be facing high levels of acute food insecurity, with areas such as Northern Bahr el Ghazal being hit the hardest. An estimated 1.4 million children under the age of five are suffering from acute malnutrition — approximately 313,000 of these children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition and face an increased risk of fatality.

Mr. Walid Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Islamic Relief Australia said:

“Hunger, starvation, malnutrition are outcomes of years of neglect, conflict and inaction by Governments. What countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Ethiopia and South Sudan are facing is a humanitarian crisis, which calls for unified action and support. Conflicts, climate and COVID-19 has pushed people into poverty, ill-health and a hunger pandemic is waiting to unfold.

Malnourishment, stunting, starvation and hunger that affects people and communities, also affect economies and the world communities must stand up to act to end such atrocities.

*Islamic Relief has a strong presence in these countries and has responded to countless disasters across the globe since 1984 — and we are determined to do as much as we can to alleviate the looming threat of food insecurity before it’s too late. *

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