Famine and Food Crises

In 2002 in Zambia, a boy (left) holds a wild fruit known as 'metu' while another boy (centre) cracks a 'mungogo' nut with a stone, in the district of Kalomo in Southern Province.
UNICEF/NYHQ2002-0671/FRANCOIS D'ELBEE

For Children, Malnutrition is the Silent Killer.

The Sahel and Horn of Africa regions in West and East Africa experienced unparalleled food crises in 2011 and 2012. Some 23 million people in 11 countries in the regions were affected by food insecurity and placed at risk of malnutrition. The survival of millions of children across these regions was threatened by a deadly combination of high food prices, armed conflict and crop failure.

The worst of the crisis has been weathered due to the emergency response, but the impact on vulnerable households remains a key concern. Although the people of the Sahel are resilient, their position has been seriously weakened by successive emergencies. This is especially true of the many children who are still at risk of severe acute malnutrition and are in need of lifesaving treatment. Although a catastrophe has been averted, help is still critically needed.

In 2014, the children of South Sudan now face a potentially grave food crisis. Conflict in the world's newest country has destroyed South Sudan's agriculture-based economy. 4 million people may soon be pushed to the edge of starvation.

Fast Fact