Pope appeals for aid as famine grips South Sudan

By Junno Arocho Esteves

CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis appealed for humanitarian assistance to South Sudan
where famine threatens the lives of millions of people already suffering due to
a three-year civil war.

In the “martyred South Sudan,” he said,
“a fratricidal conflict is compounded by a serious food crisis, which has
struck the Horn of Africa and condemns
millions of people to starve to death, among them many children,” the pope

At the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican
Feb. 22, the pope said that a solid commitment from the international community to assist South Sudan
is crucial “now more than ever.”

The United Nations Feb. 21 declared a
famine in two counties of South Sudan, adding that the catastrophic food shortages
will continue to spread, threatening millions of lives.

Civil war
has destabilized the world’s youngest country for more than three years due to
a political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former
Vice-President Riek Machar.

famine is man-made,” said Joyce Luma, director of the U.N. World Food

efforts to hold off the famine, she added, “there is only so much that humanitarian assistance can
achieve in the absence of meaningful peace and security, both for relief
workers and the crisis-affected people they serve.”

Francis urged governments and international organizations to “not stop at just
making statements,” but
take concrete steps so that necessary food aid “can reach the
suffering population.”

the Lord sustain these, our brothers and sisters, and those who work to help
them,” Pope Francis said.

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