On the brink of famine

c_Camille-Lepage_Handicap-International__A_little_boy_drinks_water_in_South_Sudan.jpgA little boy drinks water in 2013 in South Sudan.

On Feb. 20, the United Nations declared that several regions of South Sudan are suffering from famine. As a result, 100,000 people are on the verge of starvation. Half of the country, some 4.5 million people, are surviving on what minimal resources they can find, or are facing starvation. Nearly 5 million people urgently need food, agriculture, and nutrition assistance.

The famine caused by drought in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan, and Tanzania has put 20 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, with the greatest need in South Sudan.

It’s a disaster," says Xavier Duvauchelle, Handicap International’s head of the eastern and southern regions of Africa explains the situation in South Sudan. "Tens of thousands of people risk dying of hunger over the coming weeks. Four years of civil war have taken their toll and the country is highly disorganized. Clashes between armed groups have made it difficult for humanitarian aid to reach some of the regions.

“The number of people displaced by food shortages increases daily and more than three million people in South Sudan have already fled the fighting, many to neighboring countries. Our team in South Sudan is considering what action to take, in coordination with other humanitarian organizations on the ground.

“We’re particularly worried about people with disabilities. Our aim is to make sure their needs are taken into account by humanitarian groups, including access to food aid. The environment is very chaotic, so communities and families frequently leave people with disabilities behind. People with disabilities often live in remote areas and find it harder than the rest of the population to access humanitarian aid.”

Handicap International in South Sudan

Handicap International first deployed an emergency response team to South Sudan in 2006. Since then, Handicap International has continued to adapt its activities to respond to the immediate needs of the internally displaced population, and promote the equal rights and equal access to services for people with disabilities or injuries. Learn more about our work in South Sudan.