Project/Icons / advocateProject/Icons / appealsProject/Icons / blog postProject/Icons / documentsProject/Icons / educateProject/Icons / healthProject/Icons / media releaseIcons/moneyIcons/moneyx2Project/Icons / petitionIcons/Ionic/Social/social-pinterestProject/Icons / protectProject/Icons / quoteProject/Icons / supportProject/Icons / volunteerProject/Icons / water

A new famine?

27 February 2017, Emergencies

Famine has been declared in South Sudan.

Together with Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria, more than 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of starvation with more countries on the brink of famine.

Update, July 2017:  South Sudan is no longer classified as being in famine. However, the situation remains critical and if support for children and families does not continue, some areas could easily slip back into famine. Children's lives are in danger, and they still need urgent support. 

Facing famine in East Africa and beyond

In Somalia, 15-month-old Abdi* (pictured) is facing death's door. Caught in a devastating drought, over which he has no control, he was left to starve – in a world that has more than enough food. 

While Abdi is receiving treatment in Somalia, there are 1.4 million other children in the region suffering the same pain. The United Nations warns more than 50,000 children are facing starvation right now. 

Famine has been declared in South Sudan, the first to be announced anywhere in the world in six years. Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria are also on the verge of famine, while Kenya and Ethiopia are both critically affected. 

Pete Walsh is Save the Children's Country Director in South Sudan, "While the threat of a famine in South Sudan has been looming for months, the worst-case scenario has now become a devastating reality. In the coming months, famine could spread to other parts of the country, where millions of vulnerable children and families now risk starving to death." 

What's causing this crisis? 

While the causes of this hunger crisis are varied, the devastating consequences are the same – children are struggling to survive and are at risk of starvation. 

Widespread drought and brutal conflict has caused successive crop failures, leaving families across the region with little food or water. The number of children requiring treatment for hunger is already beyond what the modern humanitarian system has ever had to cope with at one time. 

The catastrophe unfolding around baby Abdi is beyond his control. But if we act without delay, we can save his life. And countless others. 

I want to help. What can I do? 

You can support our Child Hunger Crisis Appeal. Everything we raise will help us get urgent support to children and families in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. 

We are already reaching the hardest-hit communities. Right now, our teams are on the ground delivering life-saving aid: 
  • We are providing food aid and cash transfers so children can eat. 
  • Our Emergency Health Units are treating children suffering from severe malnutrition. 
  • We are getting clean drinking water to hard-to-reach communities. 
  • We are providing technical assistance to governments to support their responses. 

In 2010–2011, 258,000 people lost their lives in Somalia because of drought. This cannot happen again. Act now to help prevent famine in Somalia. 

Please donate today to help children in East Africa who need you most

*Name changed to protect identity.

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood