WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the following statement regarding the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan:
"The man-made humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is a result of the failure of South Sudan's political leadership to put the needs of its citizens above their parochial interests. I am dismayed that 18 months after the peace agreement was signed and six months since a Regional Protection Force was approved—but not deployed—the conflict rages on, even engulfing previously stable parts of the country.
"Combatting famine is foreign policy priority. We have a moral obligation to alleviate such suffering and at the same time help enhance regional stability and security. American leadership can play a role providing relief through USAID and support for UN programs. This is just one example of why the United States must remain engaged around the globe."
Today, three United Nations agencies declared that more than 100,000 people are living in famine conditions in two counties in Unity State, South Sudan. If no action is taken to mitigate this crisis, an additional 5.4 million people will be in need of food assistance throughout the country by July.
USAID has long been a leading provider of humanitarian support to South Sudan, including more than 620,000 tons of life-saving food assistance since the conflict broke out in 2013. In light of the worsening crisis, the support that USAID provides, in addition to that provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme have been critical in reducing the number of civilians at risk of severe malnutrition.