Aid to South Sudan is saving lives, yet millions remain in desperate need

Aid to South Sudan is saving lives, yet millions remain in desperate need

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Posted
9/24/14
  • With harvesting season approaching, CARE has called for urgent action to reduce needless deaths from hunger and malnutrition.

JUBA, South Sudan—(September 24, 2014)-- With the beginning of South Sudan’s harvesting season just weeks away, aid organization CARE says time is now critical for the global community to help prevent thousands of needless deaths due to hunger and malnutrition in the world’s youngest nation.

The warning comes on the back of a new report from the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC), the key tool for monitoring the status of the food crisis in South Sudan, which says that around 1.5 million people are still classified as living in a food crisis (Phase 3) or food emergency (Phase 4).

However, in a sign of strong headway made through efforts to address the hunger crisis in South Sudan, the new IPC report indicates that the number of people classified as being in either a food crisis or food emergency has reduced by around 2.2 million people since May.

“I saw firsthand how our efforts to address this horrific food crisis are beginning to pay off when I met a young mother in a UN camp in Bentiu who fled the violence, and now she and her children are receiving life-saving aid," said CARE CEO Helene Gayle during a recent visit to South Sudan.

Gayle added, "However, we are not out of the woods yet. There are thousands who are cut off from aid access due to the ongoing conflict, and the anticipated poor harvest leave many at risk of malnutrition and starvation. The best solution to ensure we avert famine and see sustainable development in South Sudan is for all parties to find a permanent solution for achieving peace."

With South Sudan’s traditional period for harvesting to begin in early October, the hunger crisis in South Sudan is now entering a critical period that could determine whether tens of thousands of people would survive the next six months.

“With the beginning of harvesting season just weeks away, now is the time for the international community to ramp up efforts to get much-needed food, seeds and the tools for growing food across the country to ensure parents will have enough nutritious food to feed their badly malnourished children,” said Aimee Ansari, Country Director for CARE in South Sudan.

Ansari added that while the new data demonstrated the effectiveness of international efforts to address the crisis in South Sudan, the threat of severe hunger still looms large. If current trends continue, around 2.5 million people will be living in severe hunger by early 2015.

“Let’s put this good news in perspective: more than one in seven people here in South Sudan are still starving or facing severe malnutrition,” said Ansari. “That’s the equivalent of the entire city of Philadelphia living from day-to-day in a desperate search for food.”

Ansari said CARE was rapidly expanding its food assistance -- getting seeds, tools and fishing equipment to thousands of families across South Sudan’s hardest-hit states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.

“We’ve already supported more than 300,000 people across South Sudan, with 24,000 of those people receiving food and livelihood assistance alone. But we desperately need more support to ensure we can expand our work at this critical juncture."

She said $15 can provide a malnourished new mother with urgent food for three months, and $33 can provide a family with vegetable seeds to grow more food to help prevent severe malnutrition.

“In a situation as extreme as what’s happening here in South Sudan, the value of a small handful of seeds – and the tools to cultivate them – cannot be understated,” said Ansari.

Since the outbreak of violence in December 2013, an estimated 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes and communities, and an estimated 450,000 people have crossed into neighboring Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda in search of food and to escape violence. CARE is providing emergency water, sanitation, hygiene services and education, in addition to nutrition and livelihoods assistance. CARE also supports over 40 health facilities in Unity and Upper Nile States, two of the states most heavily affected by fighting.

ENDS

About CARE in South Sudan:

CARE has been operating in Southern Sudan since 1993, initially providing humanitarian relief to internally displaced people in Western Equatoria. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 allowed CARE to expand into Jonglei and Upper Nile States to support returnees from the refugee camps, and the organization has since broadened its operations to include development programs.

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care.org

Interviews with CARE staff in South Sudan are available. Contact Holly Frew +1.770.842.6188 hfrew@care.org

Dan Adler/CARE

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