15-Mar-2017 @ 10:00
Conservative development spokesman Nirj Deva MEP is calling for emergency action from the international community to combat a spiralling humanitarian crisis as drought conditions worsen across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
Mr Deva has spoken to Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, who estimates that unless €4.4 billion is raised by July, suffering and starvation will be seen on an unprecedented scale, affecting more than 20 million people.
In what has been heralded as “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UNICEF warns that 1.4 million children are already suffering from extreme malnutrition and unless action is taken immediately, untold losses will occur amongst the most vulnerable people in the four countries.
Mr Deva, Vice President of the European Parliament's Development Committee, has also been in close touch with Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, and Martin Selmayr, Head of Cabinet to European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, to highlight the magnitude of the challenge ahead and call for immediate action.
As Mr. O’Brien plans to visit a number of European capitals, starting with Copenhagen and Berlin, in the coming days, Mr Deva is appealing to the international NGOs, the private sector and international celebrities to use their influence every resource available to head off the growing catastrophe.
He said: "This time the crisis is even graver than before. There are 4.6 million people in South Sudan, 4.7 million people in Nigeria, 1.7 million in Yemen and 6.2 million people in Somalia who will die unless we intervene. We must act now if we are to alleviate the suffering of millions."
In 2011 Mr Deva helped coordinate emergency relief efforts to stave off famine in Somalia, mobilising the International Food Assistance Convention
with the support of the Barroso Commission and helping provide €1.5 billion of food aid.