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Norway increases famine response to NOK 673 million

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From the Lake Chad basin crisis, January 2017. Photo: Espen Røst/Bistandsaktuelt

More than 20 million people in four countries are on the brink of famine. ‘We are facing the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the history of the UN. Nearly 1.4 million children are at risk of starving to death. Norway is therefore increasing its support for life-saving emergency aid and food security to a total of NOK 673 million,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The UN has launched an appeal for USD 4.4 billion to fight famine in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria. Norway has already provided NOK 324 million this year, and is now stepping up its response by providing an additional NOK 349 million. These funds will be channelled through the UN, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and Norwegian humanitarian organisations.

‘We must act now to save lives. The security situation makes it difficult to get help quickly and efficiently to those in need. We call on the authorities and all parties in the areas affected by hunger and famine to grant civilians immediate access to humanitarian relief,’ Mr Brende said.

Norway is closely following the situation in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria and will consider the need for further support on an ongoing basis.

‘We must do all we can to prevent this type of catastrophe developing in future. What these four countries have in common is ongoing armed conflicts and frequent attacks on civilians. Underlying causes include widespread poverty, poor governance and climate change that affects food production. The international community must do more to strengthen the national authorities’ ability to prevent new crises. These countries need to create stability and security for their citizens, find political solutions to their problems, and provide conditions that make it possible for people to work and to get enough food,’ said Mr Brende.

In February, Norway hosted an international conference for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region to increase awareness of the crisis. Norway will provide NOK 1.6 billion in aid to this region over a period of three years. Norway is one of the largest contributors to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is an important channel for ensuring a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Norway also provides humanitarian support and long-term aid through the UN and the World Bank to the countries in the Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. Norway will participate at the donor conference for Yemen on 25 April.