Northeast Africa is in the grip of a "very fast-moving crisis" that is putting both Somalia and South Sudan "in peril" of severe food shortage, a top UN official said on Tuesday.
While Somalia was managing for the moment, South Sudan was not, John Ging, director of the Operational Division of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said.
He has just returned from an emergency tour of the famine-threatened region and briefed reporters at UN headquarters in New York, Xinhua news agency reported.
"This is a very fast-moving crisis," Ging said, referring to Somalia.
"Both Somalia and South Sudan are part of a group of countries that are in peril of famine and in the case of South Sudan famine has already been declared," Ging added.
There is a catastrophic food insecurity situation in both of these countries and 6.2 million people in Somalia are "in need of humanitarian assistance.
There is also an outbreak of cholera where more than 25,000 cases are being reported.
"We also have threat of measles and 571,000 people displaced since last November, due to the drought and their needing to move from where they are to gain assistance," Ging said.
Ging noted that Somalia is a very dangerous environment for the population because of conflict and humanitarian workers are have problems gaining access to victims, "particularly in and to the al-Shabab controlled areas."
"It is surely a race again time," Ging said, complimenting government participation, but warning, "This crisis is going to continue to grow."
In South Sudan, "we have already declared famine, 100,000 people are already suffering from famine in two counties and another 1 million people very close to being declared as affected by famine," he said.
While Ging said that there already has been a large humanitarian operation in the world's youngest country for a number of years, it is "one of the most dangerous places for humanitarian aid workers," with 24 of them killed this year, nine of them last month.
He said 7.5 million people across South Sudan are now in need of humanitarian assistance while 3.6 million people have been displaced.
"So, in the one country where we already have famine we don't have resources," Ging said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)