Africa Malnutrition Crisis

Drought and famine have caused an humanitarian crisis across the Horn of Africa. More than two million children need help.


Children are starving. They're weak, frightened and unsure where their next meal will come from.

Children's lives are hanging in the balance in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria. These countries are facing a devastating food crisis and families have reached breaking-point in the search for food which simply doesn't exist. 

UNICEF has Rapid Response Teams responding to this emergency, but with the number of children threatened growing each day, we urgently need more help.

Children cannot wait.

Although there is officially no longer a famine in South Sudan, the number of people struggling to find enough food each day has still grown from less than five million a year ago, to more than six million today. 

Why is there no longer a famine then? Famine can only be declared when very specific conditions are met: at least 20 per cent of families facing extreme food shortages; acute malnutrition rates exceeding 30 per cent; and more than two adults out of every 10,000 dying every day. 

That’s no longer the case in South Sudan. We’ve stopped so many people dying, but the underlying issues are still there, and unless we continue to provide support, more people will die.

Severe drought has ravaged many areas leading to large-scale crop failures, water shortages, and livestock death. Conflict has forced families to flee their homes and farms to escape the violence. Many are walking for days in the heat, hoping to find food and water, most will fail on this journey.

As children's health deteriorates, the only reliable source of food they have comes from UNICEF. We are the sole provider of nutritional supplies in South Sudan.  

By donating today, you can make sure children receive the therapeutic food they need to survive.

10-month-old Goanar is fed therapeutic food that has saved his life.

Goanar is one of the lucky ones. We reached this little boy before it was too late.

He was so thin and unwell, his mother thought he was going to die.

But thanks to UNICEF supporters, little Goanar is receiving the treatment he needs. 3 packets of therapeutic food a day are helping him overcome the acute malnutrition that almost claimed his life.

Every 60 cent packet of therapeutic food is working its magic - taking him closer to survival, one step at a time.

We have to act now to save lives.

In Somalia, children are at extreme risk. Facing the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years, 40% of the population now need assistance to meet their basic nutritional needs and this figure is expected to rise.

In just 2 years, Yemen has seen a 200% increase in children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and last year alone, UNICEF provided over 4 million children with micronutrient interventions. This catastrophic situation has been made far worse with ongoing fighting, the impending collapse of the national heath system, the destruction of medical facilities, and the struggle for humanitarian groups to safely deliver aid.

Ethiopia and Nigeria are also reeling from the effects of conflict and drought, and millions of children urgently need therapeutic care for malnutrition. As the fifth largest refugee-hosting country in the world, Ethiopia will have an even greater pressure placed on its limited food sources, and hundreds of thousands more refugees from South Sudan are expected to arrive this year.

Families are doing everything they can to protect their children from the devastating and life-long effects of malnutrition, but they really need your help.

Just $30 can buy 50 packets of ready-to-eat therapeutic food to save the life of malnourished children.

At 60 cents a packet for therapeutic food, this is a low-cost, fast acting way to treat malnutrition. Each packet is bursting with energy, protein and all the goodness needed to bring a child back from the ravages of hunger. Each packet is an easily absorbed meal and just 3 packets a day for 3-4 weeks is enough to save the life of a malnourished child.

UNICEF NZ is a registered charity with the New Zealand Charities Commission (registration CC35979), making all donations tax refundable.