WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing an additional $173 million in lifesaving emergency food assistance for those suffering from hunger as a result of the conflict that broke out in South Sudan two years ago.
A press release by USAID states that this new assistance is from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace and will provide more than 85,000 tons of emergency food assistance, including specialized nutrition products designed to treat acute malnutrition.
“The aid will serve 2.4 million South Sudanese facing severe life- threatening hunger, as well as refugees in South Sudan. USAID’s partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) will use the contribution to stock food ahead of the May to August lean season in areas that become nearly impossible to reach once the rains set in.”
One in seven people have been forced from their homes. Inside the country, 1.3 million remain displaced, and 450,000 have left for the safety of neighbouring countries.
Within months, the dream of South Sudan – the world’s youngest country – has turned into a nightmare.
After two years of conflict, conditions for the South Sudanese continue to deteriorate and the numbers in need of lifesaving food aid has grown by 60 percent since this time last year.
The Deputy Assistant Administrator Bob Leavitt of USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance recently returned from a visit to this troubled nation. He noted, “Two years of conflict has had a brutal impact on the people of South Sudan. Nearly 20 percent of the population faces life-threatening hunger this month.”
The United States is the single largest provider of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan. With this contribution, the American people have provided nearly $1.5 billion since the start of the crisis, reaching approximately 1.3 million people every month with much-needed food, clean water, health care, shelter and other essential support. The entire aid package, including more than 344,000 tons of U.S. food, as well as contributions from other donors have helped avert famine for two consecutive years.
Conditions in South Sudan pose significant challenges to reaching people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Roads wash out during the rainy season and warring parties continue to block aid and target humanitarian staff and cargo. Humanitarian partners are addressing these challenges by delivering food and other vital supplies by plane and helicopter to people in remote areas.
“USAID remains committed to saving the lives and supporting the aspirations of the South Sudanese people,” said Deputy Assistant Administrator Leavitt. “The peace agreement signed in August provides the best chance for a return to peace and development. Its implementation is urgently needed. We urge South Sudan’s leaders to allow aid to reach the most vulnerable people and to implement all elements of the peace agreement without delay.”