CAMEROON, CAMEROON -- Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an urgent appeal Thursday 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.

The U.N. chief told a high-level U.N. Security Council meeting on conflict-driven hunger organized by the United States that more than 88 million people were suffering from “acute hunger” at the end of 2020 due to conflict and instability -- a 20 per cent increase in one year -- and “projections for 2021 point to a continuation of this frightening trend.”

“We face multiple conflict-driven famines around the world,” Guterres said. “Climate shocks and the COVID-19 pandemic are adding fuel to the flames.”

He warned that “without immediate action, millions of people will reach the brink of extreme hunger and death,” with projections showing that hunger crises are “escalating and spreading across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and accelerating in South Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan.”

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