UN estimates have indicated that up to a fifth of all Africans currently present on the continent are now suffering from malnutrition.
Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths revealed that UN estimates revealed that up to a fifth of Africa’s population is now malnourished, despite efforts made by leaders and governments.
Griffiths’ remarks came at the opening of the African Union’s Extraordinary Humanitarian Summit and Conference on Pledging.
“I am here on behalf of Mr. Antonio Guterres, to tell you that the United Nations will stand with you, and is here to help,” Griffiths told African leaders.
The UN official added that millions of Africans are being pushed to the brink of survival, noting that many of the difficulties facing the continent are driven by outside forces, including conflicts, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and high prices.
An African Agency
Griffiths also noted the importance of having an African humanitarian agency, stressing that it was necessary, and was being discussed and planned.
He stressed that the proposed African humanitarian agency will originate from Africa itself, for the sake of the African people, and has all the potential to make a difference in the world and not just in Africa.
“I am appalled, as we are all, by the rising levels of extreme hunger in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel,” he said.
Over the past decades, Griffiths said, the United Nations has gained experience responding to humanitarian needs around the world, guided by the well-known principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and has the tools, techniques, partnerships and systems to share.
“We want to put this experience at your service, and we will do so,” he said, before continuing that the UN looks “forward to being partners and learning from your collective experience in developing the best methods that work not only here, on this continent, but everywhere else.”