Fact Sheet: Nutrition During Famine

May 4, 2017

Famine means that 20 percent or more of the households in an area have “an extreme lack of food and other basic needs where starvation, death, and destitution are evident.”

Famine has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, while other areas of South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen are experiencing food security emergencies that could soon become famines. 20 million people are at risk of starvation in these countries, including 1.4 million children at “imminent risk of death” from starvation and malnutrition.

The risks associated with malnutrition are intensified by famine. When pregnant women and children younger than 2 live in famine conditions, they are at even greater risk of the short-term consequences (acute malnutrition and death) and the long-term consequences (stunting, disease, and poverty) of early childhood malnutrition than in less dire situations.

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