Grave concern about the threat of famine facing some 20 million people in conflict-affected Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria has been expressed by the United Nations Security Council which has asked the Secretary-General to provide early warning when conflict could lead to famine.
Through adoption of a Presidential Statement, the 15-member body also requested the Secretary-General to provide a briefing in October 2017 on impediments to an effective response to the risk of famine in these countries as well as make specific recommendations on addressing country-specific impediments to enable more robust short- and long-term responses.
The Council emphasised ongoing conflicts and violence are “a major cause of famine” as they have devastating humanitarian consequences and hinder effective humanitarian response in the short, medium and long term.
Deploring that in these four countries, certain parties have “failed to ensure unfettered and sustained access” for deliveries of vital food assistance as well as other forms of humanitarian aid, the Council reiterated its calls on all parties to allow safe, timely and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to all areas and to facilitate access for essential imports of food, fuel and medical supplies and their distribution.
The Council further urged all parties to protect civilian infrastructure critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid in the affected countries.
The Council expressed its readiness to continue to support the Secretary-General’s call to action to avert famine in conflict-affected countries and commits to engage constructively on his specific recommendations.