Twenty million people at risk of famine around the world

By CARE Australia February 28, 2017 0 comments

Five-year-old Nyanen is on CARE’'s feeding program for severe malnutrition in South Sudan. Image: Josh Estey/CARE.

An alarming number of food crises are sweeping across several countries, with 20 million people at risk of famine in Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia.

By the time famine is declared, thousands of people have already died or are dying. Twenty million people at risk of famine is like all of Australia facing potential starvation. We simply cannot allow preventable catastrophic deaths to ensue around the world.

“Famine” is the worst-case scenario on a scale used to gauge access to food. The scale uses several indicators to declare a famine, including malnutrition rates, number of deaths, and access to water. Large-scale displacement of people, civil strife and pandemic illness are also taken into consideration.

Where are the food crises happening?


The last time famine was declared was in Somalia in 2011, when 260,000 people had already died at the time of the declaration. Six years later, severe drought and continued insecurity have left Somalia facing the risk of famine again.

South Sudan

Famine has already been declared in South Sudan’s Unity State, where families are reporting eating only leaves and roots to stay alive. With nearly five million people suffering from extreme hunger, famine is likely to spread to other parts of the country if urgent action isn’t taken.


In Yemen, where a civil war has been raging for nearly two years, reports indicate that nine million people are suffering from extreme hunger.


Violent conflict over the last four years in Nigeria and across the Lake Chad Basin has left over 7 million people without proper access to food. At least 400,000 people in northeast Nigeria could be experiencing famine conditions.

What can you do?

Support CARE’s works in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and countries in the Lake Chad Basin providing food, nutrition and emergency cash assistance by donating to our Famine Emergency Appeal.

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