South Sudan faces "a grave risk of famine": US envoy

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Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States in South Sudan. (UNifeed video capture).

A grave risk of famine looms in South Sudan which continues to be plagued by a conflict between government and rebel forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

That warning has come from Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States who is part of a Security Council delegation visiting the country.

Ambassador Power spoke to reporters in the country's capital, Juba, after the delegation met with President Salvar Kiir on Tuesday.

She said the Security Council envoys came to South Sudan at a time of great peril for the people of this new country.

"There is a grave risk of famine that now looms, that hangs over this visit. Fifty thousand children under five are at risk of dying by malnutrition in the coming months, and around half of this country's population is facing grave food insecurity. Moreover,  the killing is continuing, notwithstanding the fact that a cessation of hostilities has been signed. So far, there has not been near the implementation of that cessation of hostilities." (29")

Ambassador Power said implementation of that cessation of hostilities is needed to bring peace and stability to this country and get it back on track.

The Security Council mission, she added, is in a way, an emergency visit to underscore to the leaders the importance of following through on their commitments to put together a transitional governing body in the run up to elections.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration:  1’36″


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