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Map of affected countries
UNICEF photo: a woman holds a child who is being fed a package of therapeutic food © UNICEF/UN055445/Modola Angelina Nyanin, 25, holds her niece, Nyalel Gatcauk, 2, who suffers from malnutrition, as a UNICEF nutrition worker gives the baby therapeutic food during a Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) mission in Thonyor, Leer county, South Sudan.

Famine response and prevention

(Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen)

Famine response and prevention:

     13.1 million
     Children to be reached in the four countries
     1 million
     Children under 5 affected by SAM to be admitted for treatment
   US$712 million
     Funding requirements for 2017

2017 Requirements: US$712,370,580



Total people in need: 41.5 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 22 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 20.3 million
Total children to be reached in 2017: 13.1 million

More than 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) due to famine in South Sudan and the risk of famine in north-east Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Already famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan’s Unity State. Armed conflict and displacement – exacerbated by drought and water scarcity, as well as already weak health, water and sanitation systems and services – are leaving 20 million people hungry. Action cannot wait for the declaration of more famines in any of the countries or elsewhere in the regions, especially the Horn of Africa. Urgency is needed to save lives before the arrival of the lean season in June-July. If untreated, some 368,000 children in the four countries are at risk of SAM and resulting complications and death through June. Malnutrition increases children’s vulnerability to threats of cholera, measles and other disease outbreaks, as families compete for scarce or unsafe water sources and are being driven from their homes, increasing disease and protection risks. Conflict characterizes all four contexts, generating grave violations of children’s rights. Across all four countries, children have been killed, injured, abducted and forcibly recruited as well as subjected to sexual violence. Deteriorating economic situations, destruction of lives and livelihoods and forced displacements have had devastating effects on children. Damage or destruction of health facilities and schools have severely impacted nutritional services and rates, and left millions of children out of school. Responding to the immediate survival needs of children must be accompanied by addressing these violations. Working with partners, UNICEF’s response is focused on scaling up life-saving interventions and advocating for unconditional and unimpeded humanitarian access and a stop to rights violations. In 2016, UNICEF and partners provided SAM treatment for a combined 730,000 children in the four countries and plan to reach over 1 million in 2017. The crisis is not limited to these four countries, with severe drought impacting the Horn of Africa, especially Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya; the South Sudanese refugee crisis stretching capacity and resources in Uganda; and displacement throughout the Lake Chad basin.

4 million (2.1 million)
UNICEF target population (children)

UNICEF total requirements

Appeal for Nigeria

Situation reports

3.2 million (1.7 million)
UNICEF target population (children)

UNICEF total requirements

Appeal for Somalia

Situation reports

South Sudan
3.3 million (2.4 million)
UNICEF target population (children)

UNICEF total requirements

Appeal for South Sudan

Situation reports

9.8 million (6.9 million)
UNICEF target population (children)

UNICEF total requirements

Appeal for Yemen

Situation reports


2017 programme targets2


  • 1 million children under 5 affected by SAM admitted for treatment


  • 3.4 million children vaccinated for measles


  • 7.4 million people with access to safe drinking water

Child protection

  • 946,000 children with access to psychosocial support, including in child friendly spaces


  • 2.1 million children with access to formal and non-formal education


1 The People and Children in Need figures are the sum of the estimated populations in need of humanitarian assistance in the four countries for 2017.
2 Programme targets and Total People and Children to be reached are aggregates across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Nigeria response covers the three most directly affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.