Daily Archives: February 21, 2017

Africa: 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.

Press Releases: State Department Announces Fulbright Top Producing Institutions

The lists of more than 150 higher education institutions sending the most Fulbright U.S. Students and Scholars abroad in academic year 2016-2017 are now available and highlight the strong institutional diversity within the Fulbright Program.

Topping the list for sending the most U.S. Students abroad on the Fulbright Program are Brown University (RI), Villanova University (PA), and Smith College (MA). The University of South Florida, California Polytechnic State University, the United States Naval Academy (MD), and Fort Lewis College (CO) sent the most Fulbright U.S. Scholars. Fulbright Students are recent college graduates, graduate students, and early career professionals. Fulbright Scholars are faculty, researchers, administrators, and established professionals.

The rankings are compiled by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, with the lists organized by Carnegie Classification. Twenty-one community colleges and several special-focus four-year institutions also sent Fulbright U.S. Scholars abroad in 2016-2017 and are recognized in the top producing lists. To see a full list of the institutions by category, visit the Fulbright Online website.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Over 1,900 U.S. students, artists and early career professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas, and more than 800 U.S. scholars and established artists and professionals teach or conduct research overseas through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program annually.

Interested media should contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at eca-press@state.gov.

'Time running out' for 1.4 million children in 'man-made' crises in Africa, Yemen – UNICEF

21 February 2017 &#150 Almost 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death due to severe acute malnutrition this year, as famine threatens in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), urging prompt action to save them.

&#8220We can still save many lives. The severe malnutrition and looming famine are largely man-made,&#8221 said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a news release issued by the UN agency today.

&#8220Our common humanity demands faster action,&#8221 he underscored.

According to UNICEF, as many as 462,000 children in Yemen &#8211 where a conflict has been raging for the past two years &#8211 are currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This figure has risen nearly 200 per cent since 2014.

Similarly, in conflict affected parts of northeast Nigeria, including Adamawa, Borno and Yobi, the number of children with severe acute malnutrition is expected to reach 450,000. According to a famine early warning system, the famine likely occurred in some previously inaccessible areas of Borno, and it is likely ongoing, and will continue, in other areas which remain beyond humanitarian reach.

Furthermore, in Somalia, droughts threaten an already fragile population battered by decades of conflict: almost half the population (6.2 million people) faces acute food insecurity and is in need of urgent relief, 185,000 among them children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. There are fears that the number could rise to 270,000 in the next few months.

In South Sudan, a famine was recently declared in parts of the country, adding to a humanitarian situation already complicated due to poverty and insecurity. Over 270,000 children are severely malnourished in the country and the total number of food insecure people across the country is expected to rise once the lean season sets in.

In its response, UNICEF, working with partners, has been providing therapeutic treatment to 220,000 severely malnourished children in Nigeria, over 200,000 in both South Sudan and Somalia, and 320,000 children in Yemen.

However, more action is urgently needed.

&#8220Time is running out,&#8221 said Mr. Lake. &#8220We must not repeat the tragedy of the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa.&#8221

Joint Statement On Famine In South Sudan

Life-saving support urgently needed in Greater Unity Region

The latest food security analysis in South Sudan has led to a declaration of famine in Leer and Mayendit counties in Greater Unity region. Two other counties are at risk of famine. The lives of some 100,000 people are threatened.

Despite a substantial humanitarian response in South Sudan by FAO, UNICEF, WFP and partners, food insecurity has deteriorated to unprecedented levels in these areas owing to protracted violence, insecurity, displacement and a protection crisis that has prevented adequate humanitarian access and aid delivery.
We stand united in our appeal to all parties to facilitate immediate and safe access for humanitarian actors and to respect the humanitarian space as a wider famine can only be prevented if assistance is urgently scaled up and reaches those most in need.

Massive and timely humanitarian interventions averted a famine over the last three years, mitigating the worst effects of the crisis. However, the provision of humanitarian assistance has become increasingly challenging in the above-mentioned areas.

Today, almost 5 million South Sudanese are facing severe food insecurity, and are not only unable to meet their basic food needs but they also must sell critical assets in order to buy food. The situation is expected to continue deteriorating through the lean season, which begins in July 2017.
People are dying of hunger. We must take action now.

Jose Graziano Da Silva
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Director-General

Ertharin Cousin
World Food Programme Executive Director

Anthony Lake
UNICEF Executive Director

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
George Fominyen, WFP/Juba, Mob. +211 922 465 247
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. +254 20 762 2179, Mob. +254 707 722 104

'Time lost means lives lost,' warns UN aid chief, releasing funds to tackle drought in Ethiopia

21 February 2017 &#150 The top United Nations humanitarian official today released $18.5 million from the organization’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to enable critical aid for more than 785,000 people suffering from hunger, malnutrition and severe water shortages in Ethiopia’s Somali region &#8211 the worst drought-stricken part of the country.

&#8220I was recently in Ethiopia’s Somali region, where I saw the devastating impact this drought is having on people’s lives, livestock and livelihoods,&#8221 said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O&#39Brien.

&#8220Time lost means lives lost so I am releasing CERF funding to provide urgent aid to people in need &#8211 now &#8211 when they need it most.&#8221

According to CERF, the latest allocation will immediately provide affected people with access to water and health, nutritional and agricultural services. The funds will also help pastoral communities, who are most in need, and thousands of whom have been forced to move in search of water and pasture.

This latest drought struck Ethiopia before it could recover from the effects of a devastating El Niño-induced drought in 2015 and 2016 which left millions in urgent need of aid.

However, the grant covers only a small portion of what is required in 2017 to address rising challenges. Furthermore, according to current estimates more than 5.6 million people in the country are in desperate need of basic necessities.

&#8220Humanitarians will use these funds to save lives, but it is a bridge that must be matched and surpassed urgently. Millions of people’s lives, livelihoods and wellbeing depend on continued donor support,&#8221 noted Mr. O&#39Brien.

The drought is also one of the worst to hit the Horn of Africa in decades. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the region received only a quarter of the expected rainfall between October and December last year, leaving over 17 million people in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda in crisis and emergency food insecurity levels.

CERF also highlighted that as the scale and intensity of emergencies around the world continue to increase, the Fund needs to be strengthened so that aid can reach people, whenever and wherever crises hit.

To this end, In December last year, UN General Assembly endorsed a recommendation by then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s to double CERF’s annual target to $1 billion by 2018.