A boy eats out of a ladle at his home in Ngop in South Sudan’s Unity State on March 10, 2017.

A boy eats out of a ladle at his home in Ngop in South Sudan’s Unity State on March 10, 2017.
Photo Credit: ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

South Sudan famine averted but millions still face hunger

Share

South Sudan is no longer classified as being in famine following an increase in international aid, but the country is experiencing the most alarming levels of food insecurity in its history, according to a newly released United Nations report.

According to an early warning famine report released today, the number of people declared to be in famine decreased from 100,000 to 45,000, due to humanitarian aid reaching the areas of Leer, Mayendit and Koch counties where famine was declared earlier this year.

However, in June and July, the number of people in need of urgent food assistance will rise to six million up from 5.5 million last month. That is half of the population in South Sudan and according to the World Food Programme, 1.7 million people still face extreme hunger – one step below famine.

Aid groups have slammed a ’man-made’ famine caused by ongoing fighting in South Sudan where civil war has forced people to flee, disrupted agriculture, sent prices soaring, and seen aid agencies blocked from accessing some of the worst-hit areas.
Aid groups have slammed a ’man-made’ famine caused by ongoing fighting in South Sudan where civil war has forced people to flee, disrupted agriculture, sent prices soaring, and seen aid agencies blocked from accessing some of the worst-hit areas. © Renaud Philippe
What is a famine?

The UN and most major aid organizations use the five-level Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system – from ‘generally food secure’ in Phase 1 to ‘famine/humanitarian catastrophe’ in Phase 5 –  to classify food insecurity.

A famine is declared only when:

  • at least 20 per cent of the population has access to fewer than 2,100 kilocalories of food a day
  • acute malnutrition in more than 30 per cent of children
  • two deaths per 10,000 people, or four child deaths per 10,000 children every day
Aleo Tong (1), who suffers severe malnutrition, rests on a bed at the MSF Nutrition centre in Aweil Hospital, on 2 August, 2016. UN agencies warn that almost 6 million people in South Sudan urgently need food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.
Aleo Tong (1), who suffers severe malnutrition, rests on a bed at the MSF Nutrition centre in Aweil Hospital, on 2 August, 2016. UN agencies warn that almost 6 million people in South Sudan urgently need food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. © ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

Three years of vicious civil war along ethnic lines have contributed to an economic crisis that has been exacerbated by crop failures, sending food prices skyrocketing. The result has been a food crisis that continues to spread throughout the country.

The highest proportions of populations in Crisis (Phase 3), Emergency (Phase 4) and Catastrophe (Phase 5) are observed in Unity State (61 per cent) and Greater Jonglei State (63 per cent), according to the IPC report.

Desperate situation
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation formed after splitting from the north in 2011, has declared famine in parts of Unity State, saying 100,000 people face starvation and another million are on the brink of famine.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation formed after splitting from the north in 2011, has declared famine in parts of Unity State, saying 100,000 people face starvation and another million are on the brink of famine. © Renaud Philippe

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau who returned from a four-day trip to South Sudan on Tuesday said the situation in the country remains desperate.

“I was in the north of the country to witness some air drops,” Bibeau said Tuesday in a telephone interview with Radio Canada International.  “It was something to witness such a situation. We are in the middle of nowhere, there were already 10,000 people waiting, they were expecting 40,000 people within two or three days coming from very far, walking this distance to get some food to have for a month.

(click to listen to the full interview with Marie-Claude Bibeau)

Listen

Bibeau said she was deeply touched by her meetings with ordinary South Sudanese women and children and awestruck by their resilience.

“When we see it on television, it’s already hard but to meet with these women and these kids it makes us realize how important it is that Canada contributes to support our partners and give them hope,” Bibeau said.

Canadian aid

On the final day of her visit to South Sudan on Monday, Bibeau announced that Canada is contributing another $86 million to assist the famine and war ravaged country. The new money, which comes on top of $36.9 million in humanitarian assistance to South Sudan Ottawa announced in March, will improve access to basic health services, including family planning and reproductive health care for women and girls as well as increasing access to food, Bibeau said.

The new funds are also an addition to the Famine Relief Fund recently announced in response to the widespread food crises in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen, in which the government will match the contributions made by Canadians until June 30.

In the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, Canada’s international development assistance to South Sudan totalled over $91 million, Global Affairs said.

Tough message

During her visit Bibeau also met with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Health Minister Riek Gai Kok to deliver a tough message.

“They have to work for peace, I mean there will be no development and economic growth if we cannot reach peace,” Bibeau said. “I encouraged them to invest in their health system and not to rely only on international organizations, I encouraged them to be very inclusive in their peace process, making sure that they are including women, obviously, and I made it clear that in decision making (positions) and not only as an aesthetic (decoration), and be inclusive as well in terms of ethnic groups.”

However, Bibeau would not to commit to lobbying her cabinet colleagues to send a Canadian peacekeeping force to South Sudan.

“We already have 10 officers in South Sudan right now and want to be sure that we will send our team where Canada can make the biggest difference in the field, so the decision hasn’t been taken yet,” Bibeau said.

Share
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in International, Politics

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*