As the world copes with numerous crises that span the continents, there’s a heartbreaking situation that you might not know very much about: the dire and deadly famine unfolding in South Sudan.
The United Nations declared a famine in certain parts of the country back in February 2017, making these the first famine-plagued areas anywhere in the world in at least the past six years — a tragic development to say the least.
According to Lilian Mubai, response director for World Vision in South Sudan, an official famine declaration means that people are actually dying due to starvation. And she warned that, if nothing is done to stem the problem, there could be a “ripple effect” in which even more people, and particularly children, die.
“An estimated 5.5 million people (47 percent of the population) are projected to be severely food insecure … and over 1.1 million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished this year,” Mubai recently told Faithwire.
The hunger surge has had other horrific consequences as well, as 3.6 million people have been uprooted from their homes, with 1.7 million of them becoming refugees and fleeing to countries outside of South Sudan such as Uganda.
Considering that Tuesday is World Refugee Day, this is a stirring reminder of the millions of people suffering in the region.
And with violence and conflict also dominating the area, Mubai said that children face an array of challenges, explaining that kids in conflict and famine face increased risks for issues such as domestic abuse, early marriage and exploitation.
Clearly: the situation in South Sudan is dire.
“A combination of conflict, economic crisis and changing climate patterns has pushed hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation,” Mubai said. “South Sudan is experiencing severe inflation and the value of its currency has plummeted more than 800 percent in the past year, which has made food unaffordable for many families.”
With food shortages also hitting other countries like Nigeria, Somalia and Yemin, the United Nations is proclaiming that we’re in the midst of “the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.”
Mubai said that Christians must come together to both pray and respond to those in need in an effort to help ease “this unprecedented moment of modern suffering.”
That’s why World Vision, a Christian humanitarian aid group, is working on the ground in South Sudan to offer relief by giving families monthly food rations, helping pregnant women and children and offering farmers’ tools to help cultivate food.
“Together with the World Food Program, World Vision is helping nearly a million people (923,000) with … food assistance in South Sudan in 2017,” Mubai said.
South Sudan is Africa’s newest nation, gaining independence from Sudan in 2011. But the country has faced severe issues since gaining its independence. Find out more and learn how you can help out here.