A famine worse than anything in recent history looms in war-torn South Sudan – the predominantly Christian, oil-rich African nation that fought for decades to gain independence from Muslim-dominated Sudan.
“An acute shortage of food is threatening the lives of millions,” reports the BBC, “at the same time as the country is mired in a civil war between government forces and armed rebels. The conflict has sparked widespread ethnic violence between the country’s largest tribal groups, the Dinka and the Nuer, and has led to more than one million fleeing their homes.”
According to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report, a majority of the population is Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal. South Sudan is roughly the size of Texas.
“Donors pledged more than $600 million in May to help avert a crisis which aid agencies said could be the biggest since the 1984 Ethiopian famine,” reports Andrew Green for Reuters, “with 3.5 million people already suffering from acute or emergency-level food shortages.
At least a million are unable to meet basic needs, according to the United Nations.
It’s a manmade famine. In 2011, the country experienced one of the best agricultural years in decades with farmers producing nearly three-quarters of the 1.3 million metric tons of food required to feed the population. However, “fighting has killed thousands of people and driven more than 1.3 million from their homes,” reported Reuters. They have been unable “to recover scattered livestock and rebuild looted markets.”
SOURCE: Rob Kerby