UN appeals for $5.5 billion to avert famine for 34 million

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief is urgently appealing for $5.5 billion to prevent a “catastrophe” for 34 million people in over three dozen countries who are just one step away from famine driven by conflict. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council Thursday that over 88 million people were suffering from “acute hunger” at the end of 2020 due to conflict and instability — a 20 percent increase from 2019. He said “projections for 2021 point to a continuation of this frightening trend.” Guterres warned that “without immediate action, millions of people will reach the brink of extreme hunger and death.”