Famine - Millions On The Brink: Tonight

On the Tonight programme, Rageh Omaar reports on the growing humanitarian crisis as millions of people in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen face starvation.

The UN has called it the biggest humanitarian crisis in its history, with 20 million people across Africa and Yemen on the brink of starvation. In an unprecedented situation, the world is scrambling to respond to extreme food shortages in four different regions.

Famine has already been declared in South Sudan with 100,000 people already facing starvation and a million more at grave risk.

Also on the brink of famine are drought-stricken Somalia and Somaliland where six million people need help, three million of whom face completely running out of food after three years of failed rains have caused what could be the worst drought in nearly two centuries.

Animal carcasses in a drought-stricken desert area. Credit: ITV

Across the Gulf is Yemen, one of poorest countries in the Arab World’s, where war has left 19 million people in need of urgent help and 7 million people unable to say where their next meal is coming from.

Lastly, conflict has driven north eastern Nigeria to crisis point with five million people expected to face serious food shortages if no help arrives from the international community. The area has been plunged into chaos by fighting between the militant faction Boko Haram and government forces.

A doctor feeds a malnourished child in Nigeria. Credit: AP

“The scale of this crisis is immense,” said Saleh Saeed Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee. “Certainly in my time working in the humanitarian field I’ve never known it so bad.”

Across South Sudan more than one million children are believed to be acutely malnourished and UNICEF have said that if urgent aid does not reach them, many of them will die. “There is no food, we eat anything we can find,” one South Sudanese mother told ITV. “We will find grass, we will eat it. That’s just the way it us for us now.”

A mother and her malnourished child at a Doctors Without Borders feeding centre. Credit: AP

South Sudan is the world’s youngest country and covers an area a third of the size of Western Europe. The famine has been driven by a vicious civil war which has caused over a million and a half people to flee the country as refugees.

Aid workers are now in a race against time as millions of people are at imminent risk of starvation across Africa and Yemen. In response to the crisis the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of 13 leading British aid charities, have launched the East Africa Crisis Appeal to get desperately needed food to people in need.

To make a donation to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any major high street bank or post office, or send a cheque.

You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.

You must be 16 years or over. Standard network charges apply for calls. Texts are free to send and your £5 donation will be added to your bill, To opt out of future marketing text STOP.

To send a donation through the post download the DEC's postal donation form.

All donations can be made payable to DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal and sent to:DEC East Africa Crisis AppealPO Box 999,London,EC3A 3AA

You can join us live after the programme on the ITV News Facebook page where Rageh Omaar will be waiting to answer your questions.

If you would like any more information about the appeal or the programme you can also visit itv.com/tonight.

  • Famine - "Millions On The Brink": Tonight will be on ITV at 7.30pm