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News in Brief 31 May 2024

News in Brief 31 May 2024

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Sudan crisis has left millions at imminent risk of famine, aid teams warn 

Millions of people in Sudan are at imminent risk of famine, UN and partner aid agencies warned on Friday, in an urgent appeal to the international community to help those forced to flee their homes by war. 

With the conflict now in its second year, 18 million people are acutely hungry, including 3.6 million children who are dangerously malnourished. 

Famine is quickly closing in across Darfur, Kordofan, Aj Jazirah and Khartoum, said Jens Laerke, spokesperson, for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“Nineteen global humanitarian organizations, including 12 UN agencies, today warned that if they continue to be prevented from providing aid in Sudan rapidly and at scale, a famine will likely take hold in large parts of the country. More people will flee to neighbouring countries, children will succumb to disease and malnutrition and women and girls will face even greater suffering and dangers.”

In a more positive development, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that trucks managed to enter Sudan from Chad last week, through the Tiné border crossing.  

The UN agency reported that 1,200 metric tonnes of food supplies for some 116,000 people are now being transported across the Darfur region.

On Friday WFP Sudan’s Leni Kinzli confirmed that the convoys destined for Central Darfur (Umshalaya and Rongatas) have reached their final destinations. The convoy that’s heading to 12 destinations in South Darfur, including displacement camps in Nyala, is still in transit.

Gaza: Children are starving amid persistent aid access obstacles, warn UN agencies

Far too little aid is reaching people in Gaza to the extent that children are now starving, UN humanitarians said on Friday.

The alert from the World Health Organization (WHO) follows the finding that more than four in five children “did not eat for a whole day at least once in the three days” leading up to a food insecurity survey. 

With more, here’s WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris:

“This was a snapshot survey, they went around and asked, and these are children under five who are not getting food all day; and that was in the last three days before the survey. So, you ask, ‘Are the supplies getting through?’ No, children are starving.” 

Additional worrying data from the food insecurity survey indicated that almost all of the youngsters surveyed in Gaza now eat just two different food groups per day, when the WHO recommendation is at least five. 

According to an update this week from the UN aid coordination office, OCHA, since mid-January, more than 93,400 children under five have been screened for malnutrition in Gaza; nearly 1,700 were found to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Afghanistan: Children the main victims of flash flood disaster, warns FAO

To Afghanistan, where the full scale of deadly flash flooding is becoming clearer, with UN teams reporting catastrophic damage to rural communities and farmland.

Spring flash floods are common across Afghanistan but the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said this this year saw unprecedented destructive flooding that claimed 600 lives, mainly children. 

Ten or more provinces were affected in the north, northeast but also in the south and west, the FAO reported, with communities “simply erased” by the flood surge.

Some families lost almost nothing but others “lost everything”, said FAO’s representative in Afghanistan, Richard Trenchard, in a call for international solidarity and support.

He added that houses, vital livestock, agricultural crops and particularly wheat had been washed away, just a few days from the first good harvest after four years of drought.

FAO also warned that the 70-centimetre layer of mud left by the floods had damaged roads, schools, health posts and vital irrigation systems for farming.

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • Afghanistan: Children the main victims of flash flood disaster: FAO 
  • Sudan crisis has left millions at imminent risk of famine: WFP  
  • Gaza: Kids are starving, warns UN health agency: WHO, UNOCHA 
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