[QODLink]
Africa

Aid agencies warn of South Sudan famine

Disasters Emergency Committee warns agencies have less than half of the money needed for aid to prevent famine.

Last updated: 03 Jul 2014 06:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The UN has around 40 percent of the cash it needs to prevent famine, with a shortfall of over a billion dollars [AP]

Famine will break out in war-torn South Sudan within weeks unless massive funding for food aid is provided, aid agencies have warned.

"If the conflict in South Sudan continues, and more aid cannot be delivered, then by August it is likely that some localised areas of South Sudan will slip into famine," Britain's Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) warned on Thursday, a coalition of 13 major aid agencies.

Thousands have been killed in the conflict in the world's youngest country, while more than 1.5 million have been forced to flee since the war broke out in mid-December. Peace talks are stalled.

The United Nations has around 40 percent of the cash it needs, with a shortfall of over a billion dollars (760 million euros). 

"There is a very real risk of famine in some areas," DEC chief Saleh Saeed said, warning that "millions of people are facing an extreme food crisis."

Millions of people are facing an extreme food crisis

Saleh Saeed, Disasters Emergency Committee 

Fighting continues despite ceasfire

Famine implies that at least 20 percent of households face extreme food shortages, there is acute malnutrition in over 30 percent of people, and two deaths per 10,000 people every day, according to the UN's definition.

Rains this year are hoped to be around average or slightly below, according to UN experts, with hunger caused by fighting not extreme climatic conditions.

The DEC coalition, which includes agencies such as Oxfam, Tearfund and Save the Children "have less than half the money they need to help prevent the growing food crisis in South Sudan turning into a catastrophe," Saeed added.

On Wednesday, World Food Programme - the UN's food agency - said at least 1,500 South Sudanese were crossing into neighbouring Ethiopia every week to escape the conflict in their country. The agency said more than 158,000 had already reached Ethiopia and in were need of assistance.

Fighting between forces of President Salva Kiir and troops loyal to rebel leader Riek Machar has been marked by widespread atrocities.

Kiir and Machar committed themselves last month to a third ceasefire deal, and agreed to forge a transitional government within 60 days, but fighting continues.

On Monday Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has earned a reputation for working in some of toughest war zone conditions across the world, said the situation was the worst it had seen in years, even during the two decades long war that paved the way for South Sudan's independence three years ago.

428

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.