Since the 20 th of February, the United Nations have declared an official famine in several parts of South Sudan. This is a special measure, as it has not been seen in the past six years. It indicates the gravity of the situation. A famine can only be declared when within a region at least 20% of households literally have no food left (an “acute food shortage”) and the death rate among children under five years of age exceeds four deaths per 10,000 children per day. Terre des Hommes offers humanitarian aid to children and their families in the southern part of the country, which hovers on the verge of starvation.
Food aid in Yei
In Yei, a city in South Sudan’s countryside, 10,000 people are at their wits’ end. The armed conflict in the countryside surrounding the city caused people to fled to the city. At the same time, inhabitants can no longer cultivate their land outside the city. This has caused serious food shortages and a steep increase in food prices. It is not easy to reach the city. Sometimes Terre des Hommes can only get there by helicopter to provide assistance. “We take action now to help families in Yei, because if we wait until an official famine is declared here as well, too many children will have already died of starvation”, says Steve Ringel of the Terre des Hommes humanitarian emergency team.
As a result of the blockade of the city of Yei, people no longer have access to the basic necessities of life. Terre des Hommes focuses, in particular, on access to drinking water and improving hygiene, by repairing water pumps and purifying water, which are especially important to preventing cholera and diarrhoea. The distribution of hygiene kits (including for example soap and water purification tablets) and hygiene education are also crucial in this regard. Water is of course life-saving, but preventing diarrhoea may also save lives of adults and children who are weakened by hunger. In addition, Terre des Hommes hands out seeds for vegetables and tools to families, so they can grow vegetables within the city.
The Cooperating Aid Organizations, of which Terre des Hommes forms a part, have launched a national campaign for famine victims in Yemen, north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. In total, 20 million people are suffering from serious malnutrition in these and neighbouring countries. Giro555 takes action to save millions of lives.
In the event of exceptional disasters, the 11 Cooperating Aid Organizations join forces under the name of Giro555. They ask the Dutch people nationwide to join by raising money for providing aid to victims. Together we save more lives. www.giro555.nl
The following are the aid organizations behind Giro555: Oxfam Novib, Dutch Red Cross, Cordaid Mensen in Nood (People in Need), ICCO & Kerk in Actie (Church in Action), CARE Netherlands, Plan Netherlands, Save the Children, Stichting Vluchteling (Refugee Foundation), World Vision, UNICEF Netherlands and Terre des Hommes.