After extensive media reporting on how Madaya in Syria was starving to death for several weeks, aid finally reached the besieged Syrian town in January.
More than 40,000 affected people breathed a sigh of relief as humanitarian convoys made deliveries of fuel, food and medicine, temporarily ending months of blockade by government troops and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Although Madaya is still in need of more humanitarian aid, it managed to at least attract the attention of the international community toward its plight. A lot of other war-torn countries have not been able to do even that.
South Sudan is one such example.
As much of the world remains transfixed on the conflicts in the Middle East, the two-year-old civil war in the northeastern African has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced 2 million more.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 after a 2005 peace deal ended a 21-year civil war in Africa. But the nonviolent stage didn’t last long in the new country as yet another conflict broke out in December 2013 between two ethnic groups comprising the ruling party: the Dinka associated with President Salva Kiir and the Nuer loyal to Vice President Riek Machar.
The resulting armed struggle for power between the two has cost tens of thousands of lives and affected the lives of millions of others.
Last year, a damning report by the African Union found all parties involved in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan have committed mass atrocities against civilians such as forced cannibalism and gang rapes. In addition, mass graves have also been discovered.
And the situation is only getting worse as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently announced that nearly 2.8 million people — almost 23% of South Sudan's total population — face acute food and nutrition insecurity during the first three months of this year.
“Based on the reconnaissance mission conducted in November 2015 by the IPC, there is overwhelming evidence of a humanitarian emergency in Mayendit, Koch, Leer and Guit counties, where displaced communities are destitute and surviving using severe coping strategies such as water lilies,” the Sudan Tribune reported while citing a statement from the FAO.
Just like Madaya, a large majority of people in South Sudan live off of leaves to ward off starvation. Just like Madaya, children in South Sudan have barely covered ribs.
Just like Madaya, South Sudan needs help.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters