South Sudan: Conflict heightens prospect of famine

Fighting between Sudan and South Sudan puts nearly 5 million South Sudanese at risk of hunger.

By James Addis, World Vision U.S.
Published April 16, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

Renewed fighting between Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan raises the specter of an all-out confrontation between the two countries, the Associated Press reports.

Conflict and refugee situation strains food supply

Charles Owubah, World Vision’s East Africa regional leader, says the ongoing conflict with the north, plus tribal fighting within South Sudan, puts further pressure on South Sudan as it struggles to find enough food to feed its people.

The Sudanese government claims the fighting erupted after southern troops attacked an oil-rich town in the border region.

Violence has picked up in recent weeks as the two countries squabble over valuable oil reserves.

To make matters worse, the fledgling country is hosting more than 400,000 refugees who are either fleeing fighting in border areas or who have left Sudan to return to their homeland in South Sudan.

“I am convinced that the unfolding situation demands a scale-up of our response to meet the increased humanitarian needs in the country,” Owubah says.

Nearly 5 million people affected

A World Food Program food security assessment predicts that an estimated 4.7 million South Sudanese will be food-insecure during 2012, of which 1 million will be severely food-insecure.

The United Nations estimates cattle raiding and inter-tribal fighting in South Sudan has adversely affected at least 140,000 people.

World Vision’s response

Currently, World Vision is delivering food aid and non-food items such as cooking utensils, soap, and mosquito nets to around 150,000 refugees in Warrap and Unity states.

Edwin Asante, World Vision’s country program director for South Sudan, says the limited capacity of rail and barge transport into South Sudan has restricted returnee inflows into the country. However, he warns the country is on a knife edge due to its already stretched resources.

“Even an extra 30,000 coming over the border could easily tip the balance toward famine and create a horrendous situation,” he says.

How you can help

Pray for children and families at risk due to instability and food shortages. Pray for peace in the region. Pray that families will be able to access the food needed to sustain them.

Make a one-time gift to our Sudan and South Sudan Relief Fund to help World Vision provide food, clean water, healthcare, and other humanitarian assistance in this troubled part of the world.