Famine has been declared in South Sudan where approximately five million people now need emergency food aid. Millions more are in need of humanitarian support in Somalia and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya due to drought.
“People are living on berries and leaves in South Sudan and things are set to get much worse” according to Sean Farrell, Director of Trócaire’s International Division, who returned from South Sudan last week.
“Right now 100,000 people are in famine and do not have enough food for the day let alone tomorrow or next month. About five million people will need emergency food aid over the coming months. Among them, children are facing serious malnutrition.”
The conflict in South Sudan, has been ongoing since the country gained independence in 2011.
Years of war has forced two million people from their homes to neighbouring counties. People have no source of income or means to get food. Drought and crop failure have compounded people’s vulnerability. As a result millions of people are dangerously close to starvation.
Trócaire has been working in South Sudan for over 40 years. Trócaire’s current programme borders Unity county- where the fighting has been at its worst and the famine has just been declared.
Some of the 12,000 people Trócaire is supporting fled from the worst fighting in that region. Families left their homes with nothing and no means of feeding their children.
Up to now Trócaire’s support included water points, food aid, cooking oil and simple kitchen utensils for families. But in recent weeks support had focused exclusively on food aid in response to the growing emergency in the region.
“Where I visited in South Sudan last week, the hungry season is normally June and July when food stocks have been depleted and the new harvest is yet to come. But in February hunger was already evident. It is going to be a long and hard six months until any harvest brings relief. If these people are to survive, food aid and vital life-saving support will be necessary”, Sean Farrell said.
Watch a short video report by Sean Farrell:
Read more about the situation and how you can donate to Trócaire here.