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Famine 'Largest Humanitarian Crisis in History of UN'


The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 with more than 20 million people in four countries at risk of starvation and famine, the UN humanitarian chief has said.


Stephen O'Brien told the UN Security Council on Friday that "without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death" and "many more will suffer and die from disease".


UN and food organisations define famine as when more than 30 percent of children under age five suffer from acute malnutrition and mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day, among other criteria.


He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid "to avert a catastrophe".


"To be precise," O'Brien said, "we need $4.4bn by July".