Earlier this year the United Nations and the Government of South Sudan declared a state of famine in several parts of the fledgling country. A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger.
United Nations agencies working on the ground in South Sudan say that the situation is “the worst hunger catastrophe” since fighting erupted more than three years ago. It is estimated that while the situation has eased a bit, nearly 6 million people – almost half the population of South Sudan - were struggling to find food.
According to the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, more than one million children are currently estimated to be acutely malnourished across South Sudan, and over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished. If aid does not reach these children soon, many of them will die.
The UN has appealed to the international community for $1.6 billion in additional funds to cope with the crisis. Please contact your members of congress and the administration and urge them to ensure that the funding request for famine relief for South Sudan is met.
The famine in South Sudan is a direct result of the civil war and is a man made famine. The multi-sided conflict with the collapse of rule-of-law and destruction and looting in large portions of the country has produced this food crisis. The US State department issued a statement on the famine saying that, “This crisis is man-made, the direct consequence of a conflict prolonged by South Sudanese leaders who are unwilling to put aside political ambitions for the good of their people.”
In order to reduce the threat of famine, the international community must do more to bring political stability to the war-torn country. Please urge your members of congress and the administration to work with the international community to put increased pressure on the armed actors to halt the conflict, provide humanitarian access, and bring stability back to South Sudan. The longer the conflict drags on, the harder it will be to stop.
If you would like to give funds to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and its work in South Sudan please click here. Funds will go toward humanitarian assistance and/or trauma care for families affected by the conflict and civil strife.
To learn more about the PCUSA's work in South Sudan as well as our mission co-workers, click here.