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Waiting Would Be ‘death Sentence’ For Millions On Brink Of Starvation: Relief Chief

12 June 2024
Humanitarian Aid

Millions of people are teetering on the brink of starvation as conflict rages across many corners of the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in Sudan and Gaza, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said on Wednesday.  

“War is pushing millions of people to the brink of starvation. Only technicalities prevent famines from being declared, as people are already dying of hunger,” said Mr. Griffiths.

“Waiting for an official declaration of famine before acting would be a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of people and a moral outrage,” he added.  

As the G7 major economies prepare to meet on Thursday, Mr. Griffiths is calling on leaders in the most developed nations to immediately use their political leverage and financial resources to support aid organizations in their efforts to reach all those in need.

The G7, consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The UN Humanitarian Affairs chief said they should wield their influence to stop such a ‘preventable scourge’ from taking the lives of innocent civilians.  

'Choice between inaction and oblivion’

In the latest Hunger Hotspots report, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are warning that acute food insecurity is set to worsen from June to October 2024 in 18 hunger hotspots.

While urgent attention is required in several hotspots where starvation looms - including Haiti, Mali, and South Sudan - immediate action is especially critical in war-ravaged Gaza and Sudan.  

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“Nowhere is the choice between inaction and oblivion so clear as in Gaza and Sudan,” said Mr. Griffiths.

Half the population of Gaza, almost one million people, is expected to face death and starvation by the middle of July, according to the UN Relief Chief.

Meanwhile, in Sudan, at least five million are on the brink of starvation. Communities in more than 40 hunger hotspots there are at high risk of falling into famine in the next month, including in the war-torn areas of Aj Jazirah, Darfur, Khartoum and Kordofan.

In both Gaza and Sudan, violence, unacceptable restrictions, and insufficient funding are keeping aid workers from delivering necessary lifesaving assistance.  

“This must change – we cannot afford to lose even a minute,” said Mr. Griffiths.  

Role of G7  

While humanitarian aid will help to counter mass starvation, it is not the ultimate solution to the problem. According to Mr. Griffiths, that rests with the G7’s readiness to bring their political influence and financial resources to the table.

However, above all, “the world must stop feeding the war machines that are starving the civilians of Gaza and Sudan,” Mr. Griffiths said.  

“It is time instead to prioritize the diplomacy that will give people back their futures – and tomorrow, the G7 is at the helm,” he added. 

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