The UN Security Council said in a declaration on Wednesday that the threat was directly linked to the armed conflicts in the afflicted areas.
“The Security Council notes the devastating impact on civilians of ongoing armed conflict and violence,” the 15-member UN body said.
The council also expressed “deep concern” that the ongoing conflicts and violence “hinder an effective humanitarian response in the short, medium and long term, and are therefore a major cause of famine in the situations above.”
It was the first time that the UN formally linked famine with conflicts in the region.
“The Security Council underlines the obligations of all parties to armed conflict to respect and protect civilians,” said the council, underlining the need to “take steps that would enable a more effective humanitarian response.”
The council also called on UN members to fulfill their promises of aid to help tackle the growing threat of famine, saying additional resources and funding are needed “to pull people back from the brink of famine.”
According to Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, only $2.5 billion of a total of $4.9 billion urgently needed have so far been paid up by donors to tackle the crisis.