026_G19_FoodSecurity

Global

Global Insight Food Security Africa’s newest nation lurches towards disaster South Sudan is on the brink of a human catastrophe. After months of on-off conflict between factions of the government of the newly independent country, another man-made famine is looming in East Africa Richard Walker © UNICEF / NYHQ2014-0349/Holt In early July, Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) issued a stark warning: before August is out, some four million people in South Sudan could begin to face food shortages. Public awareness of the crisis remains very low, warned the head of DEC Saleh Saeed, adding that the 13-strong charity grouping has less than half the money it needs to “prevent the growing food crisis in South Sudan from turning into a catastrophe”. For many, the question is how could such a predictable disaster be about to occur in the world’s youngest country? Only three years ago South Sudan achieved independence from what is now its northern neighbour, Sudan, after two decades of civil war. The celebrations that followed the independence referendum seemed to herald the creation of a new independent state that would ride the wave of confidence about Africa’s future – South Sudan had immense tracts of fertile land, a reserve of oil and other mineral wealth, and the goodwill of most of the world. Those hopes have collapsed. The government of South Sudan has fractured under the strain of managing a country with little infrastructure, little human capital and no experience of independent administration. Independence brought to power a government led by President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar. Both had played leading four 26 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2014 global


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