Sunday 22 April 2018

'We cannot let South Sudan slip off the world’s radar' - Irish aid worker's warning with more than six million people at risk of starvation

One million children are suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition in South Sudan
One million children are suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition in South Sudan

Kathy Armstrong

MORE THAN six million people are struggling to survive in war-torn South Sudan, Concern Worldwide has warned.

The aid organisation called the crisis "unprecedented" as they said that one million children are suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition and 1.7 million people are on the brink of famine.

They said that the hunger toll there has soared by 1.1million people in just four months.

Fiona McLysaght, from Co Clare, is leading the efforts of just under 350 Concern Worldwide workers in the East African country.

Fiona McLysaght
Fiona McLysaght

She said that despite a famine declaration recently being lifted for South Sudan, the suffering of the people there cannot be forgotten aout.

Ms McLysaght said: "We cannot let South Sudan slip off the world’s radar.

“The aid effort is having a positive impact, but it is vital that the humanitarian community continue its efforts to ensure that people don’t slip into famine and more people into severe food crisis levels.

“Concern mobilised a large-scale response to ease famine after its declaration in February by running nutrition programmes for acutely malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women, which is saving lives and alleviating suffering - but our efforts continue as the crisis exacerbates.”

Read More: South Sudan no longer in famine but situation 'catastrophic'

Due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, food prices have inflated by 850 per cent and 3.9 million people have been displaced - with an estimated 2,000 travelling to Uganda every day.

Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Carol Morgan
Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Carol Morgan

A Cholera epidemic has already affected almost 11,000 people and there are fears that thousands could die from the contagious disease.

Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Carol Morgan, said: “We urgently need a ceasefire and a lasting peace so that we can get safe access to the millions of people who desperately need assistance.

“In 2011, after a referendum, the world applauded South Sudan for gaining independence after decades of war, but six years on the youngest member of our global family is in crisis and needs our help.”

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