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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/13/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Famine found to be inevitable as farmers prevented from harvest

Famine is all but inevitable in South Sudan, the world's newest nation. Constant upheaval is preventing many farmers from their harvest. In the meantime, unspeakable atrocities occur to civilians on a daily basis. Pro-government gunmen sexually assault and kill women with large wooden sticks. Soldiers shoot civilians who are detained in their barracks.

Without humanitarian aid and a ceasefire to allow farming to restart, the worse is yet to come, Amnesty said.

Without humanitarian aid and a ceasefire to allow farming to restart, the worse is yet to come, Amnesty said.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/13/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: South Sudan, violence, hunger, rape, atrocities


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Amnesty International, famine in South Sudan will be "inevitable" if farmers are kept from planting their fields this month to ensure a harvest at the end of the year.

"Civilians have been systematically targeted in towns and villages, in their homes, as well as in churches, mosques, hospitals and even U.N. compounds where they had sought refuge," Amnesty said in a statement.

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More than 100 people were interviewed in the cities of Juba, Bor, Bentiu and Malakal in March. These interviews were conducted chiefly in U.N. bases where some 80,000 people are sheltering, for the report "Nowhere Safe: Civilians under attack in South Sudan."

The statistics are uniformly grim: Thousands have died and one million been displaced since the conflict began last December.

A ceasefire deal struck in January swiftly fell apart. Each side blames the other for fighting that has exacerbated deep-rooted tensions between President Salva Kiir's Dinka people and the Nuer tribe of his sacked deputy president, Riek Machar.

Many South Sudanese have been killed because of their ethnicity, leading to revenge attacks, Amnesty said.

"We are seeing a lot more of these reprisal killings happening. The violence is spiraling," Amnesty's deputy director for Africa, Michelle Kagari, told reporters.

Without humanitarian aid and a ceasefire to allow farming to restart, the worse is yet to come, Amnesty said.

"If people do not plant within this rainy season, famine is inevitable," Kagari said.

People hiding in the bush have no means to feed themselves. Markets have been burned down and truck drivers are afraid to carry goods. On top of everything else, rains have begun, which will make two-thirds of the country inaccessible by road.

The United Nations has said that 50,000 children could die of malnutrition if aid is not scaled up and that 3.7 million people face hunger.

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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


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