Time quickly running out in South Sudan

Monday, June 2, 2014

Foodgrains Bank members continuing to respond to crisis, more help needed

For some of the four million people affected by civil war in South Sudan, time is running out.

“We are losing time. Farmers should be planting their crops right now,” said Valerie Amos, United Nations’ aid chief, in a Reuters article.

“If they don’t, and if livestock herders are not able to migrate to grazing areas, people will run out of food,” she added.

Since December 2013, a civil war has raged in the world’s newest country. It threatens to disrupt South Sudan’s fragile progress, and the sense of hope that accompanied the country’s rise to independence from its northern neighbour in 2011.

The fighting has destroyed many food markets, and made it too dangerous for thousands of people to stay at home and plant a crop. Herders have been forced to abandon their animals or lead them to areas of poor grazing.

With almost the entire country completely dependent on what they can grow in order to survive, the disruption of the country’s planting time potentially devastating.

In another recent interview with Reuters, Toby Lanzer, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, warned that four million people, a third of South Sudan’s population, could be on the edge of starvation by the end of this year.

Foodgrains Bank members are responding.  ADRA Canada, supported by Presbyterian World Service & Development and the United Church of Canada, is providing food vouchers to people who have fled the fighting.

In the eastern region of the country, Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is planning to provide special nutritional supplements for pregnant and nursing mothers and children under the age of five.

Canadians can help by donating to the Foodgrains Bank South Sudan Appeal.

–Amanda Thorsteinsson, Communications Officer