MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Famine has officially been declared in Unity State, South Sudan – the first to be declared anywhere in the world in six years – with 100,000 people facing imminent starvation.
World Vision warns that aid rapidly needs to reach millions of people who are at risk as almost half the country – 5.5 million people – will face severe food shortages by July.
The combination of conflict and drought has pushed the people of South Sudan to the brink of survival with more than 1 million children estimated to be malnourished across the country and 270,000 children to be suffering the most critical form, leaving them nine times more likely to die than healthy children.
The famine declaration in South Sudan comes as the East Africa region faces severe drought with warnings that neighbouring Somalia could also soon slip into famine. Famines are rarely declared and only when the food security situation is at its most critical, with soaring rates of acute malnutrition and rising starvation deaths.
"The situation facing children who were already hungry and going without meals is now rapidly unravelling. If aid funding and deliveries are not immediately scaled up, we should expect to see children facing a catastrophe and starvation and migration to find food on a massive scale." - Perry Mansfield, National Director of World Vision South Sudan
"The rainy season is only weeks away and once that arrives the roads become impassable meaning that millions of people will be cut off from aid. We have a small and rapidly closing window of opportunity to get food into these remote areas, to preposition it, before it is too late." - Perry Mansfield, National Director of World Vision South Sudan
How World Vision is responding:
In partnership with the World Food Programme, World Vision is helping over half a million people with food assistance in South Sudan.
World Vision is on the ground in South Sudan providing urgent relief to children and families impacted by severe food shortages. Families are receiving:
- Monthly food rations of staple foods - sorghum, corn, oil, beans, sugar and salt.
- Targeted health and nutrition support to pregnant women and children who have medical complications from acute malnutrition.
- Seeds, tools and training for farmers to build self-reliance and stave off the horrible effects of famine.
How Canadians can help:
The humanitarian community is appealing for $1.6 billion (U.S.) to provide life-saving assistance and protection to 5.8 million people.
Help relief efforts in South Sudan and other countries at risk of famine by donating at rawhope.ca
Images of World Vision's food assistance
SOURCE World Vision Canada
For further information: For interviews for staff on the ground on South Sudan contact: Chelsea MacLachlan: 647-447-4334 or email@example.com