JUBA (15 December 2017) – Four years after the beginning of the South Sudan conflict, the leading humanitarian organization CARE is deeply concerned by the risk of famine as rates of hunger and malnutrition continue to rise. Presently, seven million South Sudanese are in need of lifesaving assistance – deeply affected by conflict, displacement, hunger and a collapsing economy.
“This year, ongoing violence against the civilian population – coupled with unmet humanitarian needs – has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people moving within South Sudan and across the borders to Uganda and South Sudan,” said Fred McCray, CARE country director in South Sudan. “Women and girls have bore the brunt of violence during this conflict, including many during their journey to safety in neighboring countries.”
The surge in over 2 million South Sudanese civilians fleeing violence increased the pressure on neighboring countries, such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, to provide humanitarian assistance. CARE applauds the communities that have sheltered thousands of refugees seeking safety and worked hand-in-hand with aid agencies to meet the basic needs of affected people.
In the first months of 2018, 4.8 million people – more than half of the population – will face severe food insecurity, while half of all South Sudanese children under five currently experience acute malnutrition. While the increase in donor support for humanitarian operations has played a pivotal role in preventing famine from being declared in South Sudan, continued humanitarian support – coupled with diplomatic engagement in an inclusive and sustainable peace process – is essential to secure the future of the South Sudanese population.
“We call on all parties to the conflict to allow unfettered access to the most vulnerable people, thousands of whom are already experiencing famine-like conditions in South Sudan. Without a permanent ceasefire and a sustainable peace agreement, the humanitarian community is not able to provide lifesaving assistance to those who urgently need it,” says McCray.
Attacks and apparent impunity for violence against humanitarian workers and aid convoys have exacerbated the increasing insecurity in South Sudan. Furthermore, bureaucratic impediments have diminished the resources available for humanitarian assistance. While the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has focused its engagement on protecting civilians and creating conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, it must be strengthened further in 2018 in order to prevent famine.
The use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war by parties to the conflict has created untold trauma among civilians. Investments in health and protection programming will be critical to support the needs of South Sudanese women and girls, along with their families and community members, in order to work toward progress and end the cycle of violence in South Sudan.
To date, CARE has reached over a half million people in need of lifesaving assistance with food, livelihood assistance, health care, protection from gender-based violence and peacebuilding interventions.
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit: www.care.org.
Nicole Ellis, +1-202-560-1791, firstname.lastname@example.org