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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs