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Tag Archives: Oxfam
Charities, including Oxfam and CARE, have just released an urgent report on South Sudan titled “Loaded Guns and Empty Stomachs.” They are calling for action to help the conflict-torn nation as it suffers from severe shortages of food and other basic supplies.
Oxfam’s director Winnie Byanyima pleads, “How many lives have to be lost before the parties to the conflict silence their guns and donors responds with more resources? We either act now or face an even larger human catastrophe in the weeks and months to come.”
South Sudan has long struggled with the effects of hunger and malnutrition. While some progress was being made on this front, a major conflict between the government and opposition forces broke out in December. This has displaced close to a million people and disrupted basic services.
Oxfam says, “Markets and health facilities have been destroyed. Getting aid to people has been very difficult and in some areas impossible. Cropping patterns have been disrupted. Not enough seed has been planted. Seasonal rains are making things worse.”
There are now seven million at risk of hunger in South Sudan. The UN World Food Programme (WFP), the lead agency in fighting hunger, is short on resources to meet the emergency. UNICEF is warning of children starving to death unless more funding arrives from the international community.
Aimee Ansari, CARE country director for South Sudan, says, “CARE just finished a rapid response mission in Pagak in Upper Nile state where we saw women and children bearing the weight of this conflict and the beginning of what may be a serious food crisis. The international community has to invest more in health, nutrition, water and sanitation now. Once the rainy season begins, many of the most vulnerable people will be unreachable.”
Byanyima adds, “The international community seems to have been stunned by how fast things have deteriorated. It is struggling to find a coherent way to respond. We need to learn from the mistakes of the past, not repeat them. Mass death needs not be inevitable for South Sudan but we can’t trust to hope and good luck. We need action.”
You can see the full report here.
Read the full article at Examiner.com
The hunger crisis is dangerously escalating in Afghanistan. Drought has struck 14 provinces putting over two million people at risk of severe hunger and malnutrition. The response of international donors has been poor despite warnings being issued by aid agencies. Only 7% of the UN drought appeal has been funded to this point.
Earlier this fall Oxfam warned that in the 14 drought-affected provinces, “Many people in these areas were already suffering from chronic hunger. Nearly three quarters of the people living in the affected areas told relief agencies in August that they would run out of food in less than two months.”
Today a joint statement from Oxfam and other aid agencies said the drought and food shortages are taking their toll in communities, “from the closure of schools, forced migration in order to find food and work and already vulnerable families forced deeper into debt in order to get through the winter.”
Manohar Shenoy, the Afghanistan country director for Oxfam says, “Time was already running short. With snow falling in the highlands, the situation for many people has now become critical.”
Many Afghan children had already lost their school feeding ration earlier this year when low funding for the UN World Food Programme forced cutbacks.
Shenoy says, “To survive, already vulnerable people are pushing themselves and their families to the extreme: sliding even deeper into debt and selling all rather than just some of their livestock. Meanwhile the chronic child labour problems in Afghanistan are being exacerbated, as younger children are being forced to work more, for less money. In the worst cases, destitute families are forced to marry off young girls and sell teenage sons to agents who then send them to work in cities. This not only causes anguish, but reverses important gains that Afghan society has made.”
Funding for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the lead agency in fighting hunger, has been low all year. WFP depends entirely on voluntary donations from the international community.
Silke Buhr of WFP says, “What is really worrying is the fact that for 2012 alone, we will need about US$390 million of which we have so far received nothing. Given that it takes between three and six months from the moment of pledge until beneficiaries actually receive the food, we will almost certainly have pipeline breaks…in early 2012.”
Afghanistan is looking at not only a severe hunger winter but suffering through 2012 and even beyond. Two things have to happen. One is to fund current relief operations to gain control of the hunger situation facing the country. This interim aid needs to be followed by a comprehensive plan to build resiliency among Afghan communities so droughts do not take such a toll.
It’s critical to note that even before the drought took hold, Afghanistan was already facing a hunger crisis with over seven million people listed as “food insecure” and many others on the brink. Poverty and malnutrition rates were already high.
The drought has sunk an already hungry and malnourished population deeper into the pit of suffering. Of all the threats facing Afghanistan, it is hunger which has become the most powerful. Hunger, if left unchecked, will crush hopes for peace for the war-devastated country.
Farhana Faruqi Stocker, the managing director of Afghanaid, says, “The international community, the Afghan authorities and development organizations need to assess why millions of Afghans remain vulnerable to hunger and find long term and sustainable solutions to solve this problem.”
Article first published as Afghanistan Hunger Crisis Deepens, Donors Not Responding on Blogcritics.