17 June 2015
Hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan face starvation unless urgent action is taken.
The situation in the war-torn country is critical following an upsurge in violence.
It’s estimated that more than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the last four weeks alone.
This is on top of the two million people – equivalent to the population of Birmingham – who have already had to escape in the 18 months since the conflict began.
Many have crossed into neighbouring Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has spoken out about the deteriorating situation.
Its head of operations for Eastern Africa, Eric Marclay, said: “We have received several reports of direct attacks on civilians.
“Our medical teams are performing life-saving surgery around the clock to cope with the influx of wounded.
“The humanitarian situation is deteriorating. Many people have been killed and wounded. Some people have been displaced for the second or third time.”
The ICRC’s operation in South Sudan is its second largest in the world, behind only Syria.
Marclay added: “There is an urgent need for civilians to be respected, unconditionally. Warring parties, the international community and aid agencies must take immediate, sustained and wide-ranging action.
“There is a desperate need for food and drinking water and access to health care. If the situation does not improve, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people are threatened.”
The situation is particularly severe in Unity State, Upper Nile State and parts of Jonglei State.
- The number of people facing food shortages has nearly doubled from 2.5 million to 4.6 million.
- Due to the violence, dry spells, flooding and crop disease, the amount of land being farmed has dropped significantly.
- The production of staple crops, such as sorghum, has fallen by up to 80 per cent.
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