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Your email today can help us mobilize support around the world for the most urgent needs of children. Across the globe, children are living in desperate situations. They are facing issues like food insecurity, a lack of clean water, unsafe living conditions, and no access to medical care. Every voice counts, and we need yours.

Food Crisis

Nearly 1.4 million children are suffering from severe malnutrition in the region. You can help

How to help: donate to UNICEF’s dedicated
famine relief fund to send donations directly to the cause.Donate today »

Hunger crisis puts millions of children in danger

With a recent famine in South Sudan, the risk of famine is still very present and is also as risk in Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Nearly 22 million children have been left hungry, sick, displaced and out of school across the four countries. And 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition.

Why are these countries facing the risk of famine?

  • Years of violence and conflict
  • Inflation
  • Severe drought

Prolonged wars and conflict are devastating the lives of millions of children and their families and contributing to the risk of famine. Warring parties are forcing people from their homes, destroying crops and livelihoods, and blocking humanitarian agencies’ efforts to reach those in desperate need with life-saving assistance such as food and clean water. Ongoing armed conflict and displacement have been exacerbated by drought and water scarcity, weak health services and inadequate water and sanitation systems.

The most affected children and families includes displaced households, those who are attempting to return and low income earners. As well, previously prosperous households are no longer able to cope after enduring years of conflict and inflation. Having depleted their assets, they too have become vulnerable.

Situation Overview by Country


Food crisis in Nigeria is impacting a growing number of children and families in the country. It’s projected that 8.5 million people will need humanitarian assistance in the north east states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe in 2017. This includes 4.4 million vulnerable children. Food and water shortages combined with ongoing conflict have contributed to mass displacement, with 1.69 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in these three states. More than 50 per cent of IDPs are children.


Hunger in Somalia is affecting a growing number of children. Currently, 944,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. Drought and water shortages have also contributed to a rise in disease, with tens of thousands of cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera currently reported. Overall, 6.2 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance.

South Sudan

Famine in South Sudan was declared in February 2017 and remained until late June. Since this time, continued food shortages, drought, and disease have affected millions. Currently, eight million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, 4.3 million of which are children. Since December 15, 2013, 1.9 million people have been internally displaced in South Sudan, with an additional 1.6 million residing as refugees in neighbouring countries.


Food crisis in Yemen combined with water shortages has affected 18.8 million people, including 9.6 million children. Diminishing supply and increased prices have contributed to a dangerous undernutrition issue, with 462,000 children under the age of five suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Children’s lives have been disrupted with 1.6 million children being internally displaced or returning.

UNICEF’s response to the food crisis

In areas affected by food insecurity and in hard-to-reach areas, UNICEF, in collaboration with the World Food Programme and partners, are working to reach the most vulnerable children with acute malnutrition. This is being done through Rapid Response Missions and efforts to re-establish services in areas with relative calm. Further missions are planned in the coming weeks to address the nutrition crisis.

UNICEF is treating more severely malnourished children than ever before. In 2016, UNICEF reached 730,000 children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Securing immediate access to basic health services, adequate treatment and care for those suffering from trauma/injuries caused by conflict and for malnourished children and families is also of utmost importance, and UNICEF is working around the clock to save lives.

How you can help: support UNICEF’s humanitarian aid efforts

By donating to UNICEF Canada’s Famine Relief Fund, you will allow us to deliver life-saving support and supplies where they are currently the most needed. You can save children’s lives by donating today.

Donate today »


41.5 million people in-need across the four countries

22 million children under the age of 18 in need

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene:
27 million people lack safe water


1 million children under age five affected by severe acute malnutrition admitted for treatment

3.4 million children vaccinated against the measles

7.4 million people provided with access to safe drinking water

Child Protection:
946,000 children provided with access to psychosocial support, such as child-friendly spaces