The world faces the largest food crises in 70 years, with more than 10 million people in four countries — northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen — on the brink of famine, and a further 30 million severely food insecure.
Famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan, where 100 000 people are at risk, and more than 5.5 million people will not have any reliable source of food by July. The current levels of food insecurity in the four at-risk countries reflect continued under investment in agriculture and livelihoods within the wider humanitarian assistance. Conflict and drought are forcing people to abandon their homes and their lands. As agricultural seasons are repeatedly missed and livelihoods abandoned, the humanitarian caseload builds and the number of people on the brink of famine rises. With approximately 80 percent of the affected populations relying on agriculture for their livelihoods, we must invest now in pulling people back from the brink. Often famine starts in rural areas and must be prevented in rural areas – agriculture cannot be an afterthought.
FAO is on the ground, working around the clock in these countries to deliver emergency livelihood assistance to kickstart food production. This assistance includes inputs like crop and vegetable seeds, fishing and dairy kits – which are crucial for providing highly nutritious food. In parts of remote South Sudan, the fishing kits are the only lifeline to food for many families, while in Yemen, dairy kits are helping to provide lifesaving milk for children.
To avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the four countries over the coming months, we need to scale up livelihood support and income opportunities to affected families. Supporting agriculture now is not only investing in food production today, but food security tomorrow http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/FAOFamineresponse%26prevention.pdf