The famine in South Sudan, unlike those created by drought in other parts of East Africa, is man-made. Anywhere from 100,000 to nearly 300,000 people in the region are believed to be facing starvation due to an ongoing civil war. The conflict has forced them to flee their communities, leaving behind crops or livestock, to hide in areas lacking food, and sometimes even water.
Japan began withdrawing peacekeeping troops from South Sudan today, a U.N. official announced, amid escalating violence that some are now describing as genocide. The move is a setback for international support of the South Sudanese government and, symbolically at least, undermines Japan’s pledge to be a “proactive contributor to peace.”
The U.N. again warned that as many as 20 million people are at risk of famine in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. Warnings in February were not enough to raise the money needed to prevent a global hunger crisis. So, new attempts are being made to convince donor countries to do more.
The Disasters Emergency Committee said it raised £50 million in three weeks to support humanitarian aid for people in East Africa. While it is good news in the short term, there is concern that the constant cycle of these emergency appeals fails to help address underlying issues.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Finance has decided to put a hold on a plan to charge as much as $10,000 per aid worker, a plan that aid groups criticized as wrongheaded at a time of great humanitarian need.
Since the start of fighting in South Sudan, 72 percent of women living in four protected civilian sites in Juba said they had been raped, primarily by police and soldiers who are there to provide protection, according to a new U.N. report.
As many as 1.4 million children in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are at risk of dying from famine, according to UNICEF. U.N. agencies are appealing for emergency support to help tens of millions of people suffering from hunger across the four countries, before they descend into famine. Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan on Monday. Formally invoking the world famine for the northern-central part of the country means that hunger is starting to kill people and will continue if nothing is done.
More than 20 million people – greater than the population of Romania or Florida – risk dying from starvation within six months in four separate famines, U.N. World Food Program Chief Economist Arif Husain said.
After South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, the world’s youngest country has found it difficult to build a stable nation and a functional health system, leaving many mothers at risk for dying during pregnancy and children at risk for preventable diseases such as malaria and diarrhea.
Tens of thousands of South Sudanese are fleeing the country’s civil war for refuge in neighboring Uganda each month. More than 400,000 people made the journey this year. The majority are going to the Bidibidi refugee camp, a place that a few months ago was just a small village in Uganda.