United Kingdom pledges $249M to South Sudan and Somalia in response to starvation

"This starvation is man-made", said Joyce Luma, director of the U.N. World Food Program. Estimates shows that more than 250,000 people died between October 2010 and April 2012.

Perry Mansfield, the National Director for World Vision in South Sudan said: 'The situation facing children who were already hungry and going without meals is now rapidly unravelling.

Parts of the country have also been hit by drought. Both agencies have a long history of working in South Sudan through church and non-church partners who support vulnerable people in communities, providing food, water and sanitation and supporting communities to earn a living through better farming methods.

A shared report from the government and three United Nations agencies - the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and the children's aid group UNICEF - indicate up to 5.5 million people, or half of South Sudan's population, are expected to face food insecurity issues by July.

South Sudan has been receiving humanitarian and food assistance from worldwide relief organisations including the UN. Vulnerable families are struggling to take care of themselves, and many are out of reach of vital humanitarian assistance because of the conflict. 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.

They also want protection for the air convoys that are regularly looted. But, six years after independence from neighbouring Sudan, there are only 200 km (120 miles) of paved roads in a nation the size of Texas.

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How did it get to this point? Challiss McDonough is spokesperson for the World Food Program in East Africa. The UN warned that three other countries, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria, are also at risk of starvation.

Since July 2016 that fighting has intensified to draw in other ethnic groups and render the countryside, including the formerly agriculturally rich Equatoria region, a permanent war zone that has been producing refugees instead of food.

The starvation was declared in areas that have seen some of the worst fighting between the government and rebel forces and could further complicate the situation.

"The drought situation is deteriorating rapidly", said Peter de Clercq, the humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.

According to the United Nations, the official "famine" designation is given only after a country meets a certain number of criteria.

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