Famine Alert in South Sudan Lifted, But Catastrophe Continues

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warns that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains catastrophic, even though the country is no longer classified as being in a state of famine.

The government and the United Nations declared on June 21 an end to the famine that had struck parts of Unity State.

However, the head of the Red Cross office in South Sudan, Michael Charles, says the situation remains precarious.

“We have over 1.7 million people that are on the brink of famine,” he said. “And, really, the lifting of the famine vis-a-vis the emergency phase of food insecurity is very blurry in the eyes of the people that are affected. So, whether famine has been lifted technically, people have not really noticed the difference because they still do not have access to food, because the children are still malnourished because diseases are still ongoing.”

Charles says more than 6 million people across the country are short of food and going hungry, and 1 million children are acutely malnourished.

Preventable, treatable diseases — such as measles, cholera and malaria — are on the increase and are a potential death sentence for children who are malnourished, according to Charles.

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