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Urgent action needed to save lives within South Sudan famine-hit areas

23.02.2017 08:02 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) The heads of three UN agencies (the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for urgent action to be taken within South Sudan to allow aid to reach people facing starvation in famine-hit areas of the country, UN Radio reports. In meanwhile, within Leer and Mayendit counties in Greater Unity region famine has been declared. As to the report, despite a substantial humanitarian response within South Sudan by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) and their partners, food insecurity has deteriorated to unprecedented levels in these areas. Thus, the UN agencies are urging the country authorities to facilitate «immediate and safe» access for humanitarian actors and to respect the humanitarian space. A wider famine can only be prevented, they argue, if assistance is urgently scaled up and reaches those most in need. In meanwhile, David Shearer, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) admits famine has been caused not by natural, but by human factors. «There is nothing about these food shortages which is about a drought or climatic problems. It is all about man-made problems, which is conflict, which has displaced people, it is meant that people are not able to partake in their ordinary livelihoods; they have been displaced and as a result they find themselves short of coping mechanisms and have to rely on food aid from outside,» he says.

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