U.S. Press Statement on Declaration of Famine in South Sudan

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner, Acting Spokesperson

Washington, DC
February 21, 2017

The United States is gravely concerned by the February 20 declaration of famine in parts of South Sudan and by the significant scale of humanitarian need throughout the country. This crisis is man-made, the direct consequence of a conflict prolonged by South Sudanese leaders who are unwilling to put aside political ambitions for the good of their people. We call on President Kiir to expeditiously make good on his promise that humanitarian and developmental organizations will have unimpeded access to populations in need across the country.

An estimated 5.5 million people—nearly half of South Sudan’s population—will face life-threatening hunger this year. Humanitarian actors are working tirelessly to reach those in need. All parties to the conflict must stop impeding relief efforts and allow food and other essential assistance to reach those who need it the most.

The United States remains the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, having provided more than $2.1 billion since 2014. Our assistance, including more than 600,000 metric tons of urgently needed food assistance, has saved lives and helped avert famine for three consecutive years. We call on donors and other members of the international community to provide timely additional humanitarian assistance to save lives and support the people of South Sudan.

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