In February the United Nations officially declared a famine in South Sudan. What is most disheartening about this most recent famine in the world’s youngest country is it’s largely man-made. Constant infighting among South Sudanese opposition forces and the government makes growing crops nearly impossible. And, the instability in the country continues to drive up food costs. 100,000 people are directly suffering from famine, and another 4.9 million are living in extremely food insecure situations according to the United Nations. One million children in South Sudan are malnourished.
In April, Congress unanimously called upon the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the World Food Program to continue food aid to the millions affected by the famine. Congress, however, did not appropriate new relief funding to the region keeping in step with the Trump administration’s continued cuts in foreign aid.
The Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said last week that if nothing is done, 20 million people could starve to death within the next six months in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria combined.
“Famine does not just kill people, it contributes to social instability and also perpetuates a cycle of poverty and aid dependency that endures for decades,” said the UN FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.
While the problem is monumental there has been a budget put aside for famine relief by the international aid community. Governments will also have to do their part to help stabilize the region including the United States, even though the task of some in Congress to attach new funding to the cause seems well-intentioned, but probably a pipe dream for now. There are organizations that you can support with your own donations to support famine relief.
There are organizations that you can support with your own donations. Here are five I recommend because I have seen their work in the field and have always remained impressed by their infrastructure and aid relief. Links go directly to donation pages.
UN Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis