Parts of Africa are facing an unprecedented level of famine. The FAO, or Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has indicated that 4.9 million people, or roughly 40% of the South Sudan region, are in desperate need of food. “Famine is already a reality in parts of South Sudan. Unless we act now, it is only a matter of time until it affects other areas and other countries. We are already facing a tragedy; we must avoid it becoming a catastrophe,” said the Secretary-General, “This is preventable if the international community takes decisive action.”
Buying, shipping, and delivering food costs money, and on this scale, a grave amount. The FAO has borrowed 20 million dollars from the UN to take action. The loan will be used in a variety of ways to help bring the supplies needed to those suffering the worst in the region, including South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria. The FAO has a long history of helping those in need, specifically those who are facing an immediate crisis or “emergency phase.” In 2016, the FAO launched Emergency Livelihood Response Programme for 2016, delivering “emergency livelihood kits”, helping those hardest hit in Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Unity and the Upper Nile regions of Sudan.
Many are hopeful that with the backing of the UN and the funds made available for the FAO to provide the supplies and aid needed to the affected regions, the people of Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan will finally get the help they deserve. Ertharin Cousin, echoed the importance of the program’s efforts stating, “Acting now, before we reach the height of the lean season in these countries will ensure our ability to provide the support that is necessary to avoid what we all see on the horizon, which is a famine in each one of these countries if we fail to act.”