“I saw no planting in Leer County. Villages are deserted. People are hiding in swamps to avoid the fighting,” said Nellie Kingston, an emergency coordinator for Concern Worldwide, after visiting an area of famine South Sudan.
Similar to South Sudan, countries such as Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia have critical famine and starvation issues prompting the U.N. to declare that the world is facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.The main reason that South Sudan, specifically, is facing a food crisis is due to the fighting there.
After a war to separate itself from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan was very fragile and plunged into Africa’s most violent conflict yet again. Disagreements regarding the balance of power between President Salva Kiir and the former vice president Riek Machar split the country along ethnic lines, provoking dispute between different groups. The destruction from the war caused a shortage of resources, food being the most affected. Additionally, the destruction of crop land and infrastructure decreased agricultural output.
The violent fighting coupled with the lack of food, creates a complex and dangerous issue for foreign countries to approach. Countries in the European Union such as Italy, are working to respond to the famine crisis. First and foremost, Rome serves as the headquarters for global organizations working to address nutrition and food security issues. A sector of the United Nations called the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) receives its core funding from organizations all based in Rome such as The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and The World Food Programme (WFP). In fact, Rome hosts the CFS’s plenary sessions where representatives from several countries discuss issues regarding food security. At their October 2015 conference, CFS launched a concrete global policy for dealing with protracted famine crises, known as Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition. The Framework hopes to ensure short-term relief while assuring that long term measures are taken to foster resilience in these hopeless communities. Additionally, Italy has allocated 3.
9 million euros for short term relief to support South Sudanese refugees fleeing from the country to find safety. Regarding the vast amount of South Sudanese refugees, the FAO, a specialized agency of the UN located in Rome, works to defeat hunger and empower these refugees. Their goal is to allow South Sudanese refugees to become self-reliant by the next crop season. They do this by distributing agricultural tools, providing quality grain, and providing education on nutrition and healthy living.
By founding these beneficial global organizations, Italy works to respond to the famine crisis.