Famine threatens Sudan

LONDON – Famine could strike another million people across South Sudan early next year if the civil war escalates, a report said on Monday.

Aid agencies fear an imminent upsurge in fighting once the rainy season ends this month, which could wipe out recent efforts to avert famine and push areas of the world’s youngest country into starvation by March next year.

About 10,000 people have died and 1.7 million, one seventh of the population, have been displaced since conflict broke out between President Salva Kiir’s government forces and rebels allied to his former deputy Riek Machar.

Tariq Riebl, head of Oxfam in South Sudan, said although humanitarian aid was vital, a political resolution was urgent.

“If the international community really wants to avert a famine then it has to make bold diplomatic efforts to bring both sides to end fighting,” Riebl said in a statement as the report was released.

Despite significant international aid and a recent lull in fighting due to the wet season, nearly 2.2 million people currently faced starvation, the report showed.

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