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Monday, 29 May 2017

In a 'World of Plenty,' G7 Must Fight Famine

World leaders must step up and take action in fighting famine to prevent further catastrophic levels of hunger and deaths, said Oxfam. Ahead of the 43rd G7 summit, Oxfam urged world leaders to urgently address the issue of famine, currently affecting four countries at unprecedented levels. "Political failure has led to these crises - political leadership is needed to resolve them... the world's most powerful leaders must now act to prevent a catastrophe happening on their watch," said Oxfam's Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. "If G7 leaders were to travel to any of these four countries, they would see for themselves how life is becoming impossible for so many people: many are already dying in pain, from disease and extreme hunger," she continued. In northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, approximately 30 million people are severely food insecure. Of this figure, 10 million face emergency and famine conditions, more than the population of G7 member United Kingdom's capital of London. After descending into conflict over three years ago, famine has now been declared in two South Sudan counties and a third county is at risk if food aid is not provided. In Somalia, conflict alongside prolonged drought - most likely exacerbated by climate change - has left almost 7 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Drought has also contributed to cholera outbreaks and displacement. Byanyima pointed to the hypocrisy in a "world of plenty" experiencing four famines. These widespread crises are not confined to the four countries' borders. According to the UN Refugee Agency, almost 2 million South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya, making it the world's fastest growing refugee crisis. Due to the influx of South Sudanese refugees, the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda is now the largest in the world, placing a strain on local services. Escaping hunger and conflict, Nigerians have sought refuge in the Lake Chad region which shares its borders with Cameroon, Chad, and Niger only to once again face high levels of food insecurity and disease outbreaks.

Source: Allafrica