People walk through the mud in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp inside the United Nations base in Malakal, South Sudan, July 25, 2014. Andreea Campeanu/REUTERS
Juba, South Sudan — With a season of unplanted crops in South Sudan and the United Nations declaring the food security crisis here “the worst in the world,” time is running out to prevent the death by starvation of as many as 50,000 people, analysts say, caught in what is now a seven month civil war.
Diplomats in the neighboring Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa today aim to restart negotiations to get government and rebel forces in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, to stop fighting – even as analysts worry the proliferation of militia groups has put much of the fighting beyond the control of political leaders.
More than 10,000 people have died and 1.5 million are displaced since deep animosity between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar broke into violence last December.
Farmers missed the planting season this spring due to fighting and aid groups are now struggling to reach hungry people, many of whom are caught in out-of-the-way places.
Aid agencies warn of famine before the end of the year if nothing is done to avert it. But already every day children are dying from malnutrition. Relief teams, unable to transport food by road due to rain, mud, and insecurity, have resorted to helicoptering supplies to people trapped by fighting in remote areas.
Humanitarian aid workers here say feeding programs must scale up to reach 3.9 million people in coming months or 230,000 children are in danger of acute malnutrition. They also warn that with South Sudan’s appeal for aid now running short a billion dollars, some life-saving programs will run out of funds by the end of September. Read more…