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February 24th, 2017 / AllAfrica.com

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday that 20 million people in four countries face famine unless the international community steps in to prevent it.

“The situation is dire,” Guterres told reporters. “Millions of people are barely surviving in the space between malnutrition and death, vulnerable to diseases and outbreaks, forced to kill their animals for food, and eat the grain they saved for next year’s seeds.”

The United Nations has declared South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and the northeastern part of Nigeria on the brink of famine in the next six months. The world body already has declared that about 100,000 people in two counties of South Sudan’s Unity State currently are coping with famine.

“Famine is already a reality in parts of South Sudan. Unless we act now, it is only a matter of time until it affects other areas and other countries,” Guterres said. “We are facing a tragedy; we must avoid it becoming a catastrophe. This is preventable if the international community takes decisive action.” See more