Recent Reports on Humanitarian Conditions in South Sudan Reveal an Unfolding Catastrophe

By Eric Reeves

July 15, 2014 (SSNA) — The twelve news reports and press releases collected July 15, 2014 at—long and short—all  point to the same present realities: food insecurity already—right now—threatens some 4 million people in South Sudan; famine is "inevitable" in the words of a senior official of the US Agency for International Development; children are dying of malnutrition at ghastly rates well in excess of the emergency threshold in some locations; there was very little planting done during the appropriate months of spring to late spring, and an equally paltry harvest may be expected in the fall; armed looting of humanitarian supplies has become an acute problem.

Terrifying numbers of South Sudanese are fleeing to neighboring countries, particularly Ethiopia; this creates humanitarian crises in their own right. Despite these extraordinary realities and threats—judged as extraordinary even by some of the most experienced relief workers in the world—there are painfully large budget gaps in funding the bare minimum necessary for human survival in South Sudan. Neither UN agencies nor international nongovernmental relief organizations (INGOs) have nearly the funding they require. In the global allocation of money for all development and assistance efforts, South Sudan is suffering a morally intolerable deficit. There is no more urgent need for humanitarian efforts. What is unfolding in South Sudan—at this very moment—is the beginning of what may be one of the largest and most destructive famines in the past half century.

How to help

I know well and modestly support the work of many  organizations operating in South Sudan through my Sudan Aid Fund ( All these organizations devote approximately 87 – 90 percent of funds raised to programs in the field; all have the highest rating awarded by Charity Navigator.

These in particular have compelled my own giving:

•  International Rescue Committee |
•  Oxfam America |
•  Action Contre la Faim/Action Against Hunger |
•  Médecins Sans Frontières |
•  Catholic Relief Services |

Critical work is also being done by:

•International Committee of the Red Cross |
•Samaritan’s Purse |
…and a number of other organizations are performing heroically, under extremely difficult—and often dangerous—circumstances, but face crippling funding deficits.  All have particularly highlighted the vast humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

UN organizations are also critically short of funding, especially:

•  UNICEF (the UN’s Children Emergency Fund)
•  UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
•  UN World Food Program (WFP)

In the end, it is essentially up to wealthier donor nations to commit to UN and well as nongovernmental efforts.  Commitments to help the people of South Sudan can be influenced by sufficient political pressure.

At the same time, intense political and diplomatic pressure must be brought to bear on the warring parties that have precipitated this massive crisis in South Sudan and bordering countries.  A cease-fire, a genuine willingness by all political actors to discuss and implement governance reform, and a strong commitment to protect human rights are the context for any permanent protection of civilian lives and livelihoods in this young nation.

Full text, news reports and press releases, as well as a collection of photographs may be found at:

Eric Reeves’ new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012;

Previous Post
Correction to article in The East African by Kevin Kelley, July 12, 2014
Next Post
Darfur and Human Security: UNAMID’s failure forces the essential and inescapable question

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.