BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN – MAY 2014: An Internally displaced girl stares at a severely malnourished government soldier, Jay Thiep, who was found unconscious near the airport when he was brought to the clinic at the base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Bentiu, South Sudan, May 6, 2014. Thiep was thought to have been hiding without food for roughly three weeks in the bush following a retreat of government soldiers from Bentiu. Roughly twenty-five thousand IDPs live at the UNMISS base in Bentiu, and one million Southern Sudanese have been displaced from their homes since the start of the civil war in December 2013, pitting ethnic Nu’er against Dinka. Because of continued fighting, many have been unable to plant crops to harvest the next season, and aid organizations have been unable to preposition food in anticipation of the rainy season. According to the United Nations official coordinating humanitarian aid in South Sudan, if the civil war doesn’t stop, and the country does not receive international aid, South Sudan will face the worst starvation in Africa since the 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of people died in Ethiopia’s famine. see more Photograph by Lynsey Addario/Reportage by Getty Image
Since fighting broke out in mid-December between rival army factions in South Sudan, plunging the new country into widespread conflict pitting communities against one another, thousands, perhaps as many as 30,000 people, have died; 1.5 million have been forced from their homes and around four million require humanitarian assistance, with food insecurity the main concern. Link
A South Sudanese child displaced by the fighting in Malakal, and suffering from malnutrition, cries as he is washed by a nurse at a feeding center run by Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF) in Kodok, Fashoda county, on May 28, 2014. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
Fighting breeds hunger.
In South Sudan, thousands have been killed in political and ethnic fighting since December. The fighting has disrupted much of daily life and left nearly 7 million at risk of hunger and 3.7 million facing starvation, according to the United Nations. Last week, Peter Biro of the International Rescue Committee visited the northern town of Ganyliel, South Sudan. Link
LINING UP: South Sudanese refugees waited in line for food at a refugee camp in Adjumani, Uganda, Friday. The president of neighboring Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, recently admitted that he is helping South Sudan President Salva Kiir fight rebel forces.
COLOMBIA – NOVEMBER 2007: A father displays the body of his dead son in his arms. Fighting in the area meant that the child could not be evacuated from the village for medical treatment, so died of hunger and diarrhea. The presence of the different active armed groups within local communities is one of the main reasons for the displacement of civilians. (Photo by Alvaro Ybarra Zavala/Edit by Getty Images)
Somalia has long been synonymous with the concept of the “failed state.” Lingering civil wars have prolonged the suffering of its people almost to the point of numbness for Westerners distracted by issues closer to home. Now a drought plagues the Horn of Africa, and while thousands have already died, if aid does not soon arrive a further three quarters of a million may die as well, according to the latest U.N. estimates. “It is hard to grasp the scope of a famine so far away,” writes Lynsey Addario in this week’s NEWSWEEK. “In the U.S., we struggle to fight obesity in our youth while children in Kenya and Somalia, and throughout the Horn of Africa, die daily from malnutrition or complications from malnutrition due to a weakened immune system.” Traveling through Somalia and Kenya, Addario’s haunting photographs capture a terrible reality. Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu is so crowded it has run out of beds. Children dying of malnutrition languish in garbage-strewn hallways. Desperate mothers administer their children’s feeding tubes in the absence of adequate medical staff. In the country’s displaced persons camps, thousands shelter in tents pieced together with tarp fragments and plastic, and the scourge of measles is rampant. Each morning the fathers walk to a makeshift cemetery to bury last night’s child victims. – Meredith Bennett-Smith