News / Africa

US, EU, UN Warn of Looming South Sudan Famine

From left to right: USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and EU Humanitarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva sign a "call to action" aimed at averting famine in South Sudan, in Washington on Sat. April 12, 2014.
From left to right: USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and EU Humanitarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva sign a "call to action" aimed at averting famine in South Sudan, in Washington on Sat. April 12, 2014.
The United States joined the European Union and United Nations to issue an urgent call last weekend for more countries to pledge humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands in South Sudan the western agencies say are now threatened by famine.

"This morning here in Washington, we saw the world’s unquestioned highest-level humanitarian leaders highlight the urgent needs and the opportunity to help avert a coming famine," USAID administrator Rajiv Shah said as he addressed a hastily convened meeting in Washington, D.C. on the crisis in South Sudan.

Shah said child death rates have spiked in recent weeks in South Sudan and in neighboring countries, where hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have sought refuge from four months of fighting.
 

Humanitarian leaders have reported tell-tale signs of looming famine in South Sudan, Shah said.

"Antonio Guterres, the High Commissioner for Refugees, told a dramatic and important story of how he's already seen children with red hair and deeply emaciated," both characteristics of kwashiorkor, a form of severe malnutrition, he said.


Conflict mars planting season


The E.U. Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, said the reason the alarm was raised now, four months into the fighting, is because the conflict is preventing farmers from planting crops.

She issued a stern warning that unless the international community pledges more aid for South Sudan, the country faces a massive famine.

“Because of the fighting, planting is not taking place. In six months, we may be hitting yet another tragic famine unless we act today," she said.
EU Humanitarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva makes a point at a conference in Washington on Saturday, April 12, 2014.EU Humanitarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva makes a point at a conference in Washington on Saturday, April 12, 2014.
x
EU Humanitarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva makes a point at a conference in Washington on Saturday, April 12, 2014.
EU Humanitarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva makes a point at a conference in Washington on Saturday, April 12, 2014.


"Raising money throughout the year is important but raising money today, if we want to prevent devastation, is absolutely essential," Georgieva said.

"And this is why the meeting today can for hundreds of thousands of people mean the difference between life or death."

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said funding has been coming in, but much more is needed to close a large funding gap.

Donor nations have pledged around $180 million in the past week, including $80 million on Saturday alone. 

“We're looking for $282 million just for the next three months," Amos said. "That figure is just for South Sudan. It does not include what we need for the regional dimension of this crisis," Amos said.


Norway to host donor conference


Norway has committed to hold a donor conference next month to try to narrow the long- and short-term funding shortfalls, she said.

"We know that if we work together we can deal with this challenge," Amos said. "But we also know that without improved and significant resourcing now, we face a situation next year where South Sudan is in an even worse situation than it is right now." 

The three humanitarian leaders signed a call for action for South Sudan, urging an immediate end to the fighting and calling on government and opposition fighters to allow aid workers unimpeded access to the hundreds of thousands of people in need.

The meeting today can for hundreds of thousands of people mean the difference between life or death.
Georgieva announced that the European Commission has pledged an additional $63 million in aid for South Sudan, bringing the E.U's total contribution for this year to $131 million.

In March, the United States pledged an additional $83 million to help South Sudanese forced from their homes, bringing the U.S. contribution to South Sudan for the last two years to $411 million.

A visiting South Sudanese government minister last week called the United States "the midwife of the birth of South Sudan" and said it has invested "big time" in the world's newest nation.

But there is still a large gap to close before pledges to South Sudan reach the $1.27 billion the United Nations has said it needs by June to meet the most urgent needs of increasingly desperate South Sudanese.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid