People are beginning to
starve to death in South Sudan.
The United Nations has
formally declared that a state of famine
exists in this east African nation, with
100,000 people immediately facing
starvation, and 1 million additional South
Sudanese teetering on the brink of famine.
“Many families have
exhausted every means they have to survive,”
said Food and Agriculture Organization
representative in South Sudan, Serge Tissot.
farming people have lost livestock, sold
farming tools and eaten their stock of
planting seeds. They have nothing left to
And as things stand now,
this monumental human crisis will get worse.
The U.N. warns “The total number of food
insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5
million at the height of the lean season in
July if nothing is done to curb the severity
and spread of the food crisis.”
And according to U.N.
Children’s Fund representative in South
Sudan, Jeremy Hopkins, “More than 1 million
children are currently estimated to be
acutely malnourished across South Sudan;
over a quarter of a million children are
already severely malnourished. If we do not
reach these children with urgent aid many of
them will die.”
South Sudan, the world’s
newest nation – just over five years old –
has been struggling to survive since its
Not only is it one of the
very poorest countries on earth, it has also
suffered during most of its short life from
an ongoing civil war.
Just days ago, the
Catholic Bishops of South Sudan issued a
pastoral message (see:
to their suffering brothers and sisters
saying “Our country is not at peace. People
live in fear. The civil war … continues.
Despite our calls to all parties, factions
and individuals to stop the war,
nevertheless killing, raping, looting,
displacement, attacks on churches and
destruction of property continue all over
the country. … There is a general lack of
respect for human life.”
The South Sudanese bishops
then note that while poor rains have
affected parts of the country, the famine is
man-made. And with deep insight they say,
“Hunger, in turn, creates insecurity, in a
vicious circle in which the hungry man,
especially if he has a gun, may resort to
looting to feed himself and his family.”
President Trump wants to
increase already astronomically high
military spending by $54 billion, while
making deep cuts in poverty-focused foreign
aid, which is a tiny portion of the U.S.
budget – less than 1 percent.
Therefore, it is very
important for us to email and call our two
U.S. senators and congressperson (Capitol
Switchboard: 202-224-3121) urging them to
provide supplemental emergency funding now
for the suffering people of South Sudan. And
to pass a 2018 federal budget that
significantly increases, not decreases
foreign poverty-focused development
assistance and emergency aid to poor
Since war is fueling the
famine, also ask your congressional
delegation to urge President Trump to
request that the U.N. Security Council
impose a total arms embargo on South Sudan
and actively attempt to negotiate a
permanent cease fire.
And in the spirit of
Lent’s call to deepen our efforts of prayer,
fasting and alms-giving, please consider
making a generous donation to Catholic
Relief Services. Just click this link (http://bit.ly/2lzCTvL)
and in the box labeled “special request”
type “For South Sudan.”
Now consider that Yemen,
Somalia and Nigeria are on the brink of
I know, it’s overwhelming.
But what do you think it’s like for them?