Fighting Famine

Fighting Famine

Photo: AFP PHOTO /

Tens of millions of people are in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of man-made crises in South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen - all of which are driven by violent conflict - and Somalia, where ongoing conflict is compounding the effects of severe and prolonged drought. These crises are forcing people to flee within and beyond their country borders, disrupting agricultural production and livelihoods, and severing families from their social support systems. Ongoing violence - including deliberate attacks on civilians and relief workers - continues to prevent aid from reaching those most in need.

The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in all four crises. The assistance we provide includes: emergency food and nutrition assistance, safe drinking water, life-saving medical care, and shelter for those who have been displaced, both internally and as refugees, as well as protection for civilians. The United States is also supporting health, sanitation and hygiene services to help stop the spread of preventable disease - a leading cause of death during food crises.

Our assistance represents the best of America's generosity and goodwill, while improving our national security by strengthening relationships with nations and people around the world. We will continue to work with our international and local partners to provide the life-saving aid needed to avert famine and to support surrounding countries, mitigating the impact of these crises.

Last updated: January 19, 2018

December 18, 2017

Violence and insecurity continue to result in civilian casualties and hinder humanitarian operations in northeastern Nigeria. A December 2 person-borne improvised explosive device (PBIED) attack killed at least 13 civilians in Borno State’s town of Bui, while a November 28 attack on a team of health workers forced the suspension of vaccination activities in Borno’s Gubio Local Government Area (LGA).

December 13, 2017

On November 4, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) intercepted a missile launched by Al Houthi forces toward the KSA’s capital city of Riyadh, prompting the KSA to temporarily close all of Yemen’s air, land, and sea ports on November 6. Although the KSA officially reopened the ports in late November, the KSA-led Coalition has only cleared a limited number of commercial and humanitarian shipments to enter Yemen’s Red Sea ports. No fuel vessels have been allowed to enter Red Sea ports since November 6, resulting in sharp fuel price increases and forcing at least five major cities to shut down fuel-reliant water supply systems.

December 7, 2017

Persistent attacks against civilians are a major concern for humanitarian organizations. During the week of November 19, media reported that violence in Nigeria’s Adamawa State resulted in the deaths of 90 people, including an attack on November 21 in Adamawa’s town of Mubi that resulted in nearly 60 deaths, as well as an armed group attempt to gain control of Borno State’s Magumeri town that resulted in the deaths of at least three civilians on November 25.

December 5, 2017

Clashes among armed groups continue to endanger civilians and limit humanitarian access in South Sudan. On November 28, intercommunal violence in Jonglei State resulted in the death of at least 45 civilians, including six people working for two non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and injured nearly 20 other civilians, the UN reports.

November 30, 2017

Approximately 3.3 million people in Somalia are experiencing Crisis—IPC 3—or worse levels of acute food insecurity, the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reported in November.4 FEWS NET and the USAID-supported Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) caution that parts of Somalia will remain at risk of Famine—IPC 5—through at least May 2018. Households across Somalia have reduced access to food and income following three consecutive poor rainy seasons, which resulted in below-average agricultural production and large-scale livestock losses, in addition to ongoing conflict.

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