Worst famine since 80s looms over Christian South Sudan
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/14/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
South Sudan is poised to experience the worst famine in Africa since the 1980s unless aid is sent to the region by the end of May. About 3.7 million people, nearly all Christians, are at risk of famine unless the world community sends aid quickly.
In addition to rebel factions within the government, Islamic militants have also struck in the northern portion of the country, displacing millions.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - United Nations officials are warning that a third of the people living in South Sudan are at risk of starvation in what could be the worst famine in Africa since the 1980s. South Sudan became an independent nation in 2011 after its Christian majority broke away from the Islamic north.
Continued conflict in the region between Islamic militants, and warring government factions has exacerbated conditions that can cause a famine, including the displacement of millions of refugees and the leaving of farms by people who are too endangered to work the fields.
South Sudan needs immediate aid in the form of food, water, and seeds to plant crops. The nation also needs military stabilization which could be forthcoming as the national government prepares to purchase weapons to use against armed Islamist and domestic rebels.
Currently the government in engaged in peace negotiations, however unarmed civilians are still brutalized by rebel factions and the military of that state needs to be better equipped to defend their lives.
About 3.7 million people are at risk of starvation unless aid is sent soon.
Although food and peace may be in short supply, both the UN and the Catholic Church have a strong presence in the region and are well situated to distribute aid. Unfortunately, with the government pressed to buy weapons and oil production cut by at least half, due to violence, the country is in a race to get seeds into the ground before planting season ends in May.
Even if seeds get planted in time, the people need to eat while the crops grow. Right now there is no food available and convincing people not to eat what seeds they have left is a herculean task.
When your baby cries for food, there is little thought for the future.
The United Nations has asked for $1.27 billion to address the crisis, but less than $400 million has been given so far.
This means the shortfall, particularly in food, will have to come from people.
Catholic Online recognizes that South Sudan may be the region most in need at this time and is preparing to arrange the shipment of food aid to the region to do our part to help the people there.
As readers of Catholic Online, you are invited to assist in this effort, which is part of Pope Francis' greater call to 'Prayer and Action' to end world hunger by 2025.
Will you step up for this emergency? The people of South Sudan are in the brink of catastrophe which could be the worst experienced since the infamous famines of the 1980s across the region.
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