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UN says 3.7 million people in South Sudan are in immediate danger of starvation

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 3rd, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United Nations says that as many as 3.7 million people in South Sudan are in urgent need of food following the outbreak of civil war in December. A coup attempt against the president of South Sudan, by the vice president, has led to ethnic clashes in the newly-created country of South Sudan. That fighting has displaced millions of people, many of whom are without food.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the BBC, the UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, says $1.3 billion is needed for emergency aid to address the severe and growing crisis in South Sudan.

Conflict in the newly formed country started on December 15 as the vice president and president, belonging to two different ethnic tribes, took sides against one another supported by factions within the military.

The job of feeding the world;s hungry is yours too.

Lanzer explained to the BBC, "Largely because markets have been disrupted, people have been living under extreme duress, people are able to move as they normally would.. Nobody in mid-December. Could have foreseen the scale of emergency that now faces us. We're doing everything we can to avoid a catastrophe."

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About one third of South Sudan's population, an estimated 3.7 million people, are without adequate food. Many are on the move, looking to escape violence and find food for themselves and their families. In some places, aid centers have been overrun by hungry people unwilling to wait any longer for food distributions.

In other places, aid workers have been routed as fighting factions threaten them and their supplies.

At this time, a cease-fire described by the BBC as "fragile" is now in place. A second round of peace talks are scheduled for February 7. Despite the cease-fire, random episodes of violence are still being reported. And millions of people remain hungry and displaced. Since December 15, untold thousands of individuals have lost their lives to the violence.

Virtually all of the violence has been based along ethnic divisions.

South Sudan became an independent nation in July 2011, after decades of civil war and conflict against the Islamic dominated country of Sudan. The northern portions of South Sudan are dry and sub-Saharan. A significant population of Muslims also lives in that region. Further south, most of the population is Christian, and the land becomes more tropical as it approaches the equator.

The people there have rarely known peace.

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