More than 20 million people across the four strife-torn countries are facing an unprecedented level of humanitarian needs and threat of famine. Almost 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition.
Please donate to the East Africa appealThe Security Council on Wednesday deplored that certain parties in these countries had failed to ensure unfettered and sustained access for deliveries of vital food assistance, as well as other forms of humanitarian aid. It also said that the prevailing situation was a major cause of famine.
Millions trapped in 'death zones'
“The world needs to step up its efforts to save millions who are trapped in areas fast turning into death zones,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, welcoming the Security Council’s statement.
We urgently need safe access and more resources to save lives.
“Humanitarian organisations are facing extreme challenges in providing life-saving assistance to millions in desperate need as the situation continues to deteriorate into a catastrophe. We urgently need safe access and more resources to save lives.”
Plan International is delivering humanitarian aid in South Sudan and Nigeria, and has warned that children – particularly girls, and women are at gravest risk.
“From starvation to extreme sexual violence, adolescent girls and women across affected countries are suffering some of the worst consequences of ongoing conflict and worsening food crisis. Every day women and young girls are being raped, forced into early marriage, and are going through extreme hardship to keep themselves and their families alive,” said Ms. Albrectsen.
Girls particularly vulnerable during food insecurity
The organisation is calling for all humanitarian response to be sensitive to the needs of children – particularly girls, and young women.
“Our experience in conflict situations shows that due to deep-rooted gender inequalities girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Girls and women often eat less and last when food is scarce, as boys and men’s nutritional needs are prioritised,” said Colin Rogers, Plan International’s Head of Disaster Response.
“Security concerns also more drastically affect girls and young women in relation to accessing food related aid. Girls and young women face danger and harassment while travelling to collect food and water, and remain at risk of exploitation in food distribution.”
The organisation is calling for the implementation of adequate protection mechanisms and policies to ensure the safety of children, particularly girls and young women, in accessing food provisions and humanitarian assistance. This includes measures such as providing secure travel routes, and gender sensitive and child protection training to staff involved in humanitarian aid distribution.
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Plan International experts are available for media interviews.