U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for People Facing Famine in 2017

The U.S. is deeply concerned about the famine in South Sudan, as well as the risk of famine in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. We are one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance for the people of these countries and will continue to work with other international donors to provide the life-saving aid needed to avert famine and help people in need.

U.S. assistance to people of these countries includes emergency food and nutrition, livelihoods support, critical health care, safe drinking water, shelter, protection for civilians, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.

South Sudan

  • 7.5 million people in need (63% Total Population)
  • 2.1 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG: $391 million, Other donors $728 million

Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February. An estimated 5.5 million people - nearly half of South Sudan’s population - will face life-threatening hunger this year.

The U.S. did not wait for the declaration to respond, and has been responding to humanitarian needs since the conflict began in 2013. Each month, U.S. assistance reaches more than 1.3 million people.

Approximately 7,700 suspected cholera cases have been recorded since June 2016. The U.S. is responding with health services, nutrition assistance, hygiene promotion and access to safe water. Learn more.

NE Nigeria

  • 8.5 million people in need (71% NE Population)
  • 1.46 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG $227 million, Other donors $262 million

Years of conflict have limited access to food, health care, safe drinking water, and other services in northeastern Nigeria, where populations face an increased risk of famine in mid-to-late 2017.

Additionally, armed violence - including attacks against civilians and relief workers - displaces populations and restricts humanitarian access to some locations.

With U.S. support, relief actors are pre-positioning food and other resources, as well as scaling up humanitarian operations, to deliver assistance in advance of the May-October rainy reason. Learn more.


  • 6.7 million people in need (54% Total Population)
  • 2.9 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG $227 million, Other donors $504 million

The risk of famine in Somalia remains high due to lack of rainfall, declining household purchasing power, high malnutrition levels, a widespread ongoing cholera outbreak, and humanitarian access constraints.

Sustained, large-scale humanitarian assistance will remain necessary throughout 2017.

In early May, those in need of humanitarian assistance increased from 6.2 million to 6.7 million in Somalia, and an increase in the population facing life-threatening food insecurity from 2.9 million to 3.2 million. Learn more.


  • 18.8 million people in need (69% Total Population)
  • 7.3 million people targeted by USAID
  • 2017 Humanitarian Assistance Funding* USG $276 million, Other donors $507 million

Although the food security situation would be significantly worse without the current large-scale humanitarian effort, including assistance from the U.S., ongoing conflict in Yemen has left more than 17 million people at risk of starvation.

More than 35,500 suspected cholera cases and 361 deaths have been recorded since April 27. The U.S. is responding with support for cholera treatment centers, water treatment, community training on hand-washing, messaging campaigns on prevention, as well as medical supplies, soap and other hygiene items. Learn more.


  • On May 24, the United States announced more than $329 million in additional humanitarian assistance for affected populations from four countries experiencing famine or threatened by famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, bringing total U.S. humanitarian assistance for these crises in FY 2017 to nearly $1.2 billion.
  • On May 11, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon led a U.S. delegation to the London Conference on Somalia, hosted by the UK, the Federal Government of Somalia, the UN, and the African Union. Cheryl Anderson represented USAID.
Map showing the integrated Phase Classisification scale in the  distressed areas in NE Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. Each country shows stressed, crisis and emergency levels. The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) is a widely accepted, five-phase scale that describes the severity of food emergencies. This scale helps governments and humanitarian actors quickly understand a crisis and take action
Source: FEWS NET


REQUIRED in 2017



The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that $6.3 billion is required for the UN humanitarian responses to the crises in these four countries in 2017, but only $2.0 billion has been received, creating a funding gap of $4.3 billion.


South Sudan funding gap 54%, funding received 46%. NE Nigeria funding gap 77%, funding received 23%. Somalia funding gap 65%, funding received 35%. Yemen funding gap 79%, funding received 21%. Source: UN OCHA


Last updated: June 02, 2017

Share This Page