In South Sudan, iguacu recommends:
On February 20th 2017, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan by the Food and Agricultural Organization jointly with the World Food Program and UNICEF.
Formally declaring a famine means a significant number of people have already died of hunger.
Today, 100,000 people are facing starvation and a further 1 million are thought to be on the verge of famine. More than 40% of the population, nearly 5 million people, are in need of urgent food as well as livelihood support.
This famine is largely the result of the current civil war. Crops have been destroyed, the agricultural sector shattered and people forced to flee their homes.
In December 2013, a conflict broke out between government forces and rebels over long-simmering political disagreements. At first confined to the capital, Juba, the fighting eventually spread to the rest of the country turning into a fully-fledged civil war. More than 50,000 people were killed, around 2.2 million displaced, and more than half of the country’s population caught in dire humanitarian need.
And while longstanding disagreements and grievances between the supporters of President Salva Kiir (ethnically Dinka) and his formerly sacked Vice President Riek Machar (ethnically Nuer) spurred the spiralling hostilities, violent clashes between their supporters have taken increasingly ethnic overtones. These deep ethno-social cleavages will take a long time to heal.
The situation on the ground
The consequences of the prolonged conflict on the South Sudanese population are catastrophic. More than 7 million people are now in desperate need of humanitarian support. While most South Sudanese rely on subsistence agriculture for their livelihood, continued violence, forced displacement and inability to plant or harvest during rainy seasons have greatly escalated the numbers of people with limited access to food. It is estimated that, by July, half the population of South Sudan will face hunger. Since the beginning of the fighting, more than 3 million people have fled their homes. Almost 2 million people are internally displaced and another 1.5 million people have fled to neighbouring countries.
South Sudan remains a desperate and unforgiving place for many, and yet there are exceptional humanitarian workers on the ground bringing hope and relief to some of the world’s most deprived communities.
Which sector needs your help?
After extensive research and analysis from our network of experts, we recommend you act in the food sector. The ongoing famine has already hit 100,000 people and is threatening a further 1 million people.
Right now more than 1 million South Sudanese children are estimated to be malnourished and a quarter of a million children severely malnourished.
Until farmers can safely grow their crops, many South Sudanese will depend on international help for survival.
Who should you give to?
Our network recommends you donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Its main areas of activity tackle food insecurity and provide basic services. Together with its local partner, the South Sudan Red Cross (SSRC), they carry out air drops to deliver food and relief items to thousands of people.
ICRC’s unique capacity to gain access to difficult areas is a huge asset in a country with very few roads. ICRC/SSRC’s field teams (comprised of 80% locals and 20% international experts) work closely with local communities to understand local needs, identifying the best possible responses incorporating both short-term relief and longer-term development strategies. Short-term, they provide immediate lifesaving assistance by providing food rations and access to safe drinking water. Long-term, they implement livelihood support strategies by providing farming tools and seeds, fishing kits and by vaccinating animals.
The tragedy of South Sudan
There are millions of people that desperately need food and other basic necessities, yet South Sudan has more than enough resources to sustain them. It has abundant arable lands, untapped water sources, and large stocks of cattle and fish. The country’s diverse soil types suitable for agriculture spread across the land’s 82 million hectares and provide options for multiple food and cash crops. Its Upper Nile region is one of Africa’s most fertile areas. And yet the country still suffers this tragic hardship that is difficult to accept.
The real reasons for its people’s suffering are the legacies of deprivation and devastation caused by the country’s civil wars as well as the country’s endemically poor governance – not a lack of resources.
Until the violence completely ends and the government effectively serves its own people, millions of the South Sudanese people will continue to suffer.
Photo credits (top to bottom): European Commission DG ECHO, Stuart Price, UN / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 , Alun McDonald, Oxfam / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Anita Kattakhuzy, Oxfam / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Jason Straziuso/ICRC, Stuart Price/UN, Map: The World Factbook.
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