The U.N. refugee agency is issuing an urgent warning: The risk of mass deaths from starvation in the Horn of Africa is growing, making the humanitarian crisis inevitable.
ABC News anchor David Muir and his team traveled with Carolyn Miles, the CEO of Save the Children, as the organization sent mobile clinics to isolated villages deep in the deserts of Somaliland. There they found a little boy, so weak he could not stand. A band was placed on his arm to measure his level of malnutrition. His result was in the red, signaling severe acute malnutrition.
“It’s one of the worst crises that we’ve seen since World War II,” Miles said. “I don’t think the world has really woken up to this disaster at this point. They haven’t realized what’s happening — the possibility of four famines at once.”
Those nations on the brink of famine — South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria — mean that 20 million people are at risk of starvation. Nearly 10 million of which are children. Aid workers fear that President Trump’s urging of Congress to cut foreign aid could have a chilling effect worldwide.
Muir and his team journeyed for hours through the desert to reach some of the most remote villages in Somaliland, a self-proclaimed independent country in northern Somalia.
In Harashef, residents need both food and water. The line waiting for Save the Children trucks started forming early in the morning. Villagers said that it had not rained in three years to four years.
Halina, a villager waiting in line, said her livestock had died, leaving her family with no food or income. She said she remembered it raining for one day last year. As two trucks delivered water, hundreds of families tried to reach the hoses, desperately trying to get just enough water to last a couple of days.
Across Somalia, 70 percent of farm animals have died. One mother moved closer to a village in hope of food. She was down to 10 goats after initially having 200. The mother, a single parent, said she spent her days worrying about food for her family of five.