Nearly 1.4 million children are at ''imminent risk'' of death in famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, UNICEF says. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Nearly 1.4 million children are at "imminent risk" of death in famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said on Tuesday (February 21). People are already starving to death in all four countries, and the World Food Programme says more than 20 million lives are at risk in the next six months. Famine was formally declared on Monday (February 20) in parts of South Sudan, which has been mired in civil war since 2013. The conflict has increasingly split the country along ethnic lines, leading the United Nations to warn of a potential genocide. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said children are already dying from famine and that malnourished children are up to nine times more likely to die from diseases such as measles, malaria or cholera than a healthy child. The organisation is calling for funding as well as immediate and sustained access and for political solutions in the four countries concerned, which are all affected by conflicts. "The fact is that these conflicts are largely manmade. Children are dying because of manmade conflict-affected disasters. In 2017, that's shameful," Mercado told Reuters in Geneva.