Aid groups bypass UN in joint call to prevent mass starvation

As disease outbreaks raise the danger for as many as 20 million people faced with famine and mass starvation in a clutch of strife-torn African and Middle Eastern countries, some of the world’s largest non-government aid organizations are issuing a rare collective call for private relief donations over the next two weeks, alongside a longer-range, multibillion-dollar United Nations appeal that is so far less than half funded.

Without immediate help, the aid organizations warns, “1.4 million severely malnourished children will die.”

In effect, the new campaign is an attempt to put some humanity back into the world’s overwhelming humanitarian relief crisis, where intractable conflicts, tidal waves of refugees and debates about fusing development and humanitarian aid have sometimes blunted the traditional heart-strings appeals that galvanize American private generosity.

“It’s very hard to get people’s attention,” explained Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children and one of the forces behind the joint appeal. “We wanted to see if we can make a lot more noise.”

‘It’s very hard to get people’s attention.’

– Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children

As usual, however, the U.S. has already been the biggest government responder to the heightened famine alarm. Last week, the Trump administration’s USAID office announced an additional $639 million in humanitarian assistance…

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