Hunger, the ultimate weapon
South Sudan, 2015-2017
More than three years of conflict in South Sudan has left five million people –more than 40 per cent of the country’s population – in urgent need of food assistance and 100,000 starving. The UN recently declared famine for the first time in some parts of the country. Besides killings, rapes, destruction, displacement, illiteracy, widespread diseases, economic crisis and hyperinflation, hunger has become the ultimate weapon that punishes the newest country in the world.
South Sudan gained the independence in July 2011, after decades of conflict with the government of Khartoum. Then, the civil war broke out in December 2013 in Juba, between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar. Since then, 3.5 million people have fled their homes and tens of thousands have been killed. The peace agreement signed in August 2015 exists only on paper.
Since the government intervention is practically non-existent, nearly 200 humanitarian organizations (UN agencies, and international and national NGOs) have assumed the provision of the most basic services for more than one third of the population, not only food, but also shelter, protection, health, sanitation and education, among others.