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South Sudan is the first nation in six years to declare a famine, but the UN have issued a stark warning that other countries face extreme food-shortages across East Africa. All We Can and the World Church Relationships Team of the Methodist Church in Britain are calling for support for an urgent appeal to respond to immediate needs in South Sudan and to help avert famine in other countries on the verge of disaster.
Ongoing food crises have pushed many East African countries to the brink of catastrophe with millions across the region facing malnutrition, illness and death. On 20 February 2017 it was announced that South Sudan had already reached tipping point with two counties being declared as officially affected by famine.
Droughts and unpredictable rainfall, protracted civil conflicts and entrenched economic crises, have led to widespread food insecurity across East Africa and people are already dying. Without urgent support, many other communities across the region face the threat of famine in 2017.
The Methodist Church in Britain are urging people to respond quickly, generously and collectively to this catastrophic situation by supporting the appeal being managed by All We Can.
Serge Tissot, Head of UN Food and Agricultural Organisation in South Sudan, said of the crisis: “Our worst fears have been realised”. In South Sudan, people are already losing their lives because of a lack of access to food and the problem is expected to get worse unless the international community responds decisively.
In 1998, Sudan faced a famine that led to over 70,000 people losing their lives. All We Can is responding to the dire circumstances in South Sudan in alliance with its experienced humanitarian aid partner in the country.
Moreover, All We Can hopes to reach other countries in the region that are at risk of famine because of widespread food insecurity resulting from drought, unpredictable rainfall and regional conflicts.
All We Can’s Humanitarian Aid Manager Jason Snuggs said: “This situation is incredibly serious, it is not one we can ignore. We need supporters to give generously and without delay so we can respond to the need in South Sudan and help towards averting famine in other countries in the region on the verge of disaster.”
The United Nations have stated that there is a threat of an unprecedented level of hunger, not only in South Sudan but in a number of other nations as well. Local organisations All We Can has worked with for years, in countries like Ethiopia, are already stressing the pressure they are under. Long-term development work with communities is severely threatened by this crisis.
The magnitude of need across the region is enormous: In South Sudan alone, 100,000 people are facing famine in the northern-central part of the country and a further 1 million are classified as being on the brink of famine.
Tragically, the declaration of famine in South Sudan throws the spotlight on a much wider disaster.
In areas of East Africa, and in neighbouring Yemen, a lack of food is no longer a matter of discomfort but of survival. Malnutrition is widespread, in some countries water is scarce and the need for lifesaving aid; food, water and sanitation, is critical.
Gifts to this emergency appeal will enable All We Can and its partners to respond quickly to those in greatest need.
To support the East Africa Famine Appeal go to www.awcdev.us/famine
All images ©Medair
Laura works for All We Can as the Communications Manager. She is also an internationally acclaimed photographer with a passion for women's rights. She is studying MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies in her spare time and lives with her husband Stephen in Essex.