Has the world no shame? Crisis in South Sudan reaches tipping point
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The planting season is past and now the growing season has begun in South Sudan, except there's nothing to grow across the country. Nearly 5 million people face death by starvation.
This child is receiving medical care, but the odds are poor. Even those under the care of humanitarian agencies are in grave danger as resources run out.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Relief workers are working across South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya, without enough supplies to do their work. Many workers are themselves going hungry. Six months of civil war and the displacement of millions of people has created an artificial humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. The famine is no past the point of no-return, thousands will surely die.
Early summer is when crops should be growing and herds fattening for the harvest, but now fields lay barren, the herds long gone, stolen by militias to feed those willing to kill.
Shabbily-dressed victims are moving in roving bands, seeking food and shelter as millions of displaced people are herded into overcrowded camps where officials can attempt to feed them. Unfortunately, sanitary conditions, disease, and the stress of overcrowding are taking their toll.
Atop all these problems is a general lack of resources, far below what is projected to stave off starvation and death. In the background a power struggle continues between two warring factions, the president of South Sudan and the army still clashes with militias loyal to the former vice president, tearing up the country as they go.
A distraught father brings his son for help that doesn't exist. What can be said in such a case? There is no relief, no comfort here.
About 1.3 million people, mostly children, are in immediate danger of death from malnutrition. A further 4 million are at lesser risk, but still face significant danger.
The world has been called to action, but virtually nobody has answered. Perhaps people are weary of wars and disasters, tired of helping. It's difficult to say why governments won't do their part and why people have stopped giving, but fatigue is a reality.
As Christians, watching these events unfold is especially heartbreaking. There are literally hundreds of thousands of babies who are living the last few weeks of their life as we speak, dying in unbearable suffering because no nation or people will donate the scraps from their plate to help them. The whole world it seems is tired or on vacation.
Yet hunger never takes a vacation.
For the people of South Sudan, the government is a distant figment in faraway Juba. For these people, reality is the farm. They live -and die across the expansive rural districts of the Sahel region of Africa. Despite droughts that seem to occur with increasing frequency and the slow encroach of the Sahara, the region can be bountiful. Farmers skilled by virtue of generations of work can make the land grow even with meager resources.
Kids are the first to suffer as parents cut them off from food and clothing. Food and clothes are for those who can work and bring in food. Children are a liability in these situations. Who among us could make such a decision? Severe hunger changes the way even loving parents think.
Yet there is no skill that can grow a crop from nothing. No herd can be replaced from animals stolen and butchered to feed ravenous soldiers.
This is where you come in. The people of South Sudan are doomed. Millions of them, certainly hundreds of thousands of children will certainly die. The aid they need isn't coming. This is reality.
However, you can still make a difference, if not for all, certainly for a few. One single food donation is all that's asked. One donation will feed one child 30 meals, buying a few weeks of precious life. Every week that goes by, the conflict in South Sudan hopefully comes closer to resolution.
If the people can survive until next year, and world powers can force the warring factions to at least agree to a cease fire, then famine can be stopped. Farmers can plant crops from new seed stocks and the people of South Sudan can at least feed themselves.
People are still being buried in individual graves, a luxury that will change as more people begin to to succumb to hunger. Soon the graves will become anonymous, then massive.
However, we have to buy a lot of time for a lot of people. There won't be enough for all, but there will be just enough for some. We have a duty to save who we can. Let us pray and act now to do what we can.
You may take a vacation this summer, but hunger is ever present. Enjoy your time of plenty, but don't leave without doing your part. Give now and let us pray that our gifts are multiplied by God and children presently condemned to die, will gain a second chance at life because you cared enough to help.
All good Samaritans are asked to click here and donate to our campaign to help South Sudan. Each donation will send one bag of regionally-formulated Vitameal to relief efforts.
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