Pope Francis on Wednesday, called for urgent humanitarian aid to help relieve the people suffering from the South Sudan famine.
He said millions of people including many children were at risk of being “condemned to death by hunger” in many parts of the war-ravaged country.
“Now more than ever there should be a commitment by everyone to not just talk but contribute food aid and allow it to reach suffering populations,” the Pope said to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope’s statement comes just a day after South Sudan President Salva Kiir said his government will ensure “unimpeded access” for all aid organizations coming into the country after it declared the famine in parts of the oil-rich Unity state.
South Sudan has in the past promised to allow full humanitarian access across the country, but always failed to apply it to full effect.
The United Nations and other international aid and humanitarian organizations have long accused the government of blocking or restricting aid delivery in the country.
The government was said to have always expressed hostility accusing them of having an agenda.
According to Human Rights Watch researcher Jonathan Pedneault, the South Sudan famine is a man-made result of conflict. He said that the warring parties block access for aid workers while committing large-scale human rights violations.
The U.S. State Department is also of the same belief adding that it was gravely concerned by the declaration of the South Sudan famine.
It called the crisis a ”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,” acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
South Sudan Famine Aid
The British government said on Wednesday it will provide 100 million pounds of additional aid money to South Sudan. The statement also said Britain’s additional support would help bring food assistance to over 500,000 people in the country.
The European Commission has also announced an 82 million euro emergency aid package for the East African nation.
Tens of thousands of people have died since the civil war in the country began in December 2013 with more than 1.5 million people having fled the country.