Rains, cholera outbreak, and not enough food aid: Millions of South Sudanese could face famine. Millions of people are walking for tens of miles to receive healthcare and food aid Experts warn of impending famine if more aid cannot be delivered. Hundreds of thousands are still to return to their homes and will be unable toplant crops.
As fighting continues and the rainy season commences, millions of people in South Sudan are facing massive difficulties to reach food aid centres and access healthcare at hospitals.
In Unity State, in the north of the country, scores of villagers often have to walk for more than five hours across difficult terrain and severe wet weather, to get a fortnightly food ration; and to visit the hospital in Leer town. Compounding the crisis – which began seven months ago when fighting broke out, dwindling funds for aid agencies and heavy rains are hampering the distribution of aid.
There are fears that large parts of South Sudan may slip into famine in the near future if aid cannot be delivered. “The crisis is descending towards catastrophe. Right now the rains have just begun falling meaning roads have become impassable,” said British Red Cross spokesman Henry Makiwa.
Makiwa, who has recently returned from some of the worst affected areas, said the crisis has exacerbated the dire humanitarian situation“Although aid agencies are working hard to alleviate the enormous suffering and prevent a famine, needs for food, healthcare and shelter remain dire. A lot more needs to be done for us to avoid losing another South Sudanese generation,” he said.
The Red Cross is focusing on supporting the affected people of South Sudan with food and livelihood aid. The charity is also providing emergency healthcare, helping people access portable water and sanitation, giving shelter, and protecting civilians. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the International Committee of the Red Cross is using airdrops to get aid to where it’s needed as most roads are impassable.
To support the South Sudan Crisis appeal, please visit: www.redcross.org.uk/southsudan
Picture credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret