OUR FOCUS

Crisis Response

Averting famine

Click here for our factsheets on northeast Nigeria | Somalia | South Sudan | Yemen

Across Somalia, some 2.9 million people urgently need food and livelihoods assistance resulting from severe drought.  In the worst affected areas, crops have been wiped out and livestock have died, while communities have been forced to sell assets and borrow food and money to survive.

But Somalia is only one of four countries—along with Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria—facing conflict and drought and now approaching famine, with 20 million people near starvation in the worst preventable humanitarian crisis since World War II.

Such crises are closely linked to conflict, fragility, and insecurity. The United Nations is leading efforts by humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding partners in all four countries, delivering urgent aid and building resilience among vulnerable people over the longer term.

UNDP has maintained a robust, long-term presence in all four affected countries and has mobilized quickly to revitalize communities and economies.

North-east Nigeria

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In north-east Nigeria, 5.1 million people urgently need food and livelihoods assistance resulting from long-term social, political, and economic exclusion, along with violent conflict. Nearly seven out of 10 people were living below the extreme poverty line before the current crisis, and farmers have been unable to plant food crops for the third consecutive year after losing tools, seeds, and livestock.

UNDP is supporting livelihoods and businesses with small grants, skills training and trade assistance; repair or rebuilding of community infrastructure such as schools, water and sanitation, and government buildings, which also creates emergency jobs; and revival of agriculture with new seeds, tools, fertilizer, and livestock.

Somalia

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In Somalia, nearly 895,000 people have been displaced due to drought compounded by armed conflict since November 2016. In addition, 3.2 million require emergency food assistance including 388,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition; half of Somalia’s population is in dire need of support to restart their lives and livelihoods. The UN Development Programme primarily supports the government to coordinate the response and address the root causes of the ongoing humanitarian crisis, so to break the ‘vicious cycle’ of natural disasters and emergencies.

South Sudan

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In South Sudan, some 5 million people urgently need food and livelihoods assistance following severe damage to crop production, rural livelihoods, and the economy broadly because of ongoing conflict.  Conflict has forced more than a quarter of the population to flee their homes, disrupted crop production, and destroyed livestock. Recovery and stabilization are needed to stop the famine from spreading to as many as 1 million more people.  

UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, and FAO are working together to prevent the famine from spreading into other vulnerable areas—focusing on livelihoods, food security, local economic revitalization, basic services, and peace and reconciliation.

Yemen

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In Yemen, escalating armed conflict since 2015 has dramatically worsened the country’s chronic poverty and fragility, creating a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in what was already the poorest country in the Arab region.

In a country of 27 million people, tens of thousands have been killed or wounded and 3 million have been forced to flee their homes, and are now internally displaced. With food supplies disrupted, hunger, stunting, and starvation are increasingly common—even as prices surge, incomes plunge or vanish, and people are forced to buy food and other necessities on credit.

UNDP is responding in ways that promise maximum immediate impact at the community level, helping vulnerable people meet their most urgent needs while building resilience to future shocks. Working with local partners, we are improving service delivery and local governance to help Yemen to build back better and stronger than before.

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