The United Nations has warned that the world is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945 with starvation and famine in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeastern Nigeria.
With the ongoing conflicts in the region, 12 million people in Yemen, 7.5 million in South Sudan, 6.2 million in Somalia, and 10.7 million in Nigeria need immediate assistance, with a lot of them facing severe food insecurity and a real risk of starving to death.
O'Brien said leadership on both sides of the conflict in Yemen promised to facilitate sustained humanitarian access, but "all parties to the conflict are arbitrarily denying sustained humanitarian access and politicize aid". Those going hungry in Yemen had increased by three million since January, he said.
Weather patterns attributed to El Niño in Somalia have killed off livestock and crops, leaving 6.2 million people in urgent need of assistance. He stressed that the global community therefore had the "possibility to prevent and end further misery and suffering" in those countries at risk of starvation.
Before 2015, nearly half of all Yemenis lived below the poverty line, two-thirds of youths were unemployed, and social services were on the verge of collapse.
O'Brien said $4.4 billion was needed by July to avert a disaster.
O'Brien, speaking to the United Nations security council in NY, issued a plea for $4.4 billion by July to "avert a catastrophe" in the countries. "Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine".
He also urged the worldwide community to take collective action to save people from simply "starving to death" and called for global help to accelerate United Nations humanitarian action on the ground.
Its President, Jim Yong Kim, gave the hint in Washington D.C. where he stated that starvation was a stain on "our collective conscience" as millions of lives are at risk and more would die if nothing was done quickly and decisively.
Without the money, he said, children will be stunted by severe malnutrition, gains in economic development will be reversed and "livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost". Communities' resilience is rapidly wilting away. "Many will be displaced and will continue to move in search for survival, creating ever more instability across entire regions". "Yemen, northern Nigeria and Somalia are also on the brink of famine", analysts said. "We're ready despite incredible risk and danger... but we need those huge funds now".
"More than one million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished across the country, including 270,000 children who face the imminent risk of death should they not be reached in time with assistance", he said.