Hungry South Sudanese 'under the radar': Red Cross

2014-09-25 22:09

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - The scale of South Sudan's food crisis remains a massive unknown, with aid workers fearing the worst in isolated parts of the conflict-ravaged country, the international Red Cross said on Thursday.

"The situation is critical," said Dominik Stillhart, director of operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"What remains to be seen now is are there populations out there that are completely under the radar today?" he told reporters.

The United Nations has estimated that 3.9 million people in the country are failing to get regular food.

"We will see probably at the end of the rainy season, probably when access will be improving, whether we can really speak about famine," said Stillhart, noting that aid operations were helping to hold off that spectre for now.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, six years after a peace deal which ended decades of conflict.

The young nation plunged into renewed violence last December following clashes between fighters loyal to the president and supporters of his sacked former deputy.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.8 million have fled their homes, leaving them unable to plant crops essential for their survival.

Both sides have faced accusations of slaughtering civilians and carrying out other breaches of the laws of war, which the Red Cross monitors.

Serious violations

"What is clear is that serious violations of international humanitarian law have taken place. There is no doubt with the massacre and killing of so many civilians," said Stillhart.

Repeated ceasefire deals have broken down, and efforts to form a unity government have so far failed.

Talks resumed in Ethiopia on Monday as sporadic fighting continued to rage in the oil-rich but impoverished country.

Stillhart said he was in South Sudan when the 2005 peace deal was signed and again for independence in 2011.

"I have rarely seen people as joyful," he said.

"I think nobody, least of all the South Sudanese themselves, thought they would see exactly the same images again as for the past so many decades," he added.

The Red Cross and other aid agencies have repeatedly complained that their South Sudan operations face huge funding shortfalls, which Stillhart said were partly due to the country's intractable political wrangling.

"If there is not a very serious input, and especially food distribution, we will see a situation that is much worse next year," he warned.

Read more on:    south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.