Nirj Deva MEP, Conservative Spokesman and Vice President of the European Parliament Development Committee, called for emergency action from the international community, to combat the spiralling humanitarian crisis, as severe drought conditions continue to worsen across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
Following a widely broadcast announcement by Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, Nirj Deva spoke to Mr. O’Brien, who estimated that unless €4.4 billion is raised by July, we will witness suffering and starvation on an unprecedented level, set to affect more than 20 million people.
In what has already been heralded as “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UNICEF has warned that 1.4 million children are already suffering from extreme malnutrition and unless action is taken immediately, we risk untold losses amongst the most vulnerable across these four countries.
Nirj Deva, who in 2011 helped coordinate emergency relief efforts to stave off famine in Somalia, providing €1.5 billion of food aid, mobilising the International Food Assistance Convention with the support of the Barroso Commission, has been in close touch with the Under-Secretary-General’s Office, as well as Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, and Martin Selmayr, Head of Cabinet to European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, highlighted the magnitude of the challenge ahead and calling for immediate action.
As Mr. O’Brien plans to visit a number of European Capitals, starting with Copenhagen and Berlin, in the coming days, 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.
‘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.’