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
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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs