Oxfam is warning an unprecedented four famines could be declared in 2017, in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen, due to a catastrophic failure by the global community to uphold its obligations to the most vulnerable of people.

Oxfam is calling on donors, including the Australian Government, to take immediate action to help up to 20 million people now at risk of starvation.

In Somalia, 2.9 million people face acute food security ‘crisis’ and ‘emergency’ levels. This could tip into famine if the April-June rains fail, their ability to buy food declines and people do not receive humanitarian support.

In Nigeria, over 5 million people are in food crisis, and this is projected to reach 5.7 million by June 2017. There is a strong likelihood that at least 400,000 people could already be experiencing famine-like conditions and that this could rise to up to 800,000 over the course of 2017 if humanitarian assistance cannot be delivered.

In South Sudan, 100,000 people are facing starvation now and a further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine in Unity State.

In Yemen, over 7 million people are just one step away from famine, and an extra 10 million people are severely hungry. This is largest hunger emergency in the world. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is reporting that wheat stocks for the country will run out in April.