VATICAN CITY FEBRUARY 24, 2017 (CISA)-Pope Francis has appealed for humanitarian assistance to South Sudan where famine threatens lives of millions.
In his weekly general audience address at the Vatican on February 22, the Pope expressed concern on the fratricidal conflict in South Sudan compounded by severe food crisis. This, he said, has condemned to death millions of people by starvation including children.
He added that a solid commitment from the international community to assist South Sudan is crucial now more than ever and urged the international community to commit fully and not to resort to making statements only.
“At this time it is more necessary than ever that all commit, not to stop at making statements, but also to provide concrete food aid and to allow it to reach suffering populations,” the Pope said.
The Pope also prayed for strength for the all parties involved in efforts to help the people of South Sudan.
“May the Lord sustain these brothers and sisters and those who work to help them,” he said.
Civil war has destabilized the world’s youngest country for more than three years due to political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.
The United Nation on February 21 formally declared famine in parts of South Sudan, warning that war and collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing imminent starvation there and further 1 million people classified as being on the brink of famine.
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update, released on February 20 by the government agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. This is more that 40 percent of South Sudan population.
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Representative to South Sudan Jeremy Hopkins says that more than one million children are currently estimated to be acutely malnourished across South Sudan.
He says that over a quarter a million children already severely malnourished and will die if urgent aid does not reach them.