The UN Security Council’s call in February this year for a “sustained humanitarian pause” to local conflicts, embraced by the UN General Assembly in today’s International Day of Peace, needs to be urgently honoured, says Christian Aid. This, alongside the UN Secretary General’s appeal last year for a global ceasefire to help tackle COVID-19 are required immediately. Christian Aid works in more than a dozen countries where violence and conflict are driving hunger and slowing prevention and recovery from COVID-19.
In South Sudan, two-thirds of the population, 8.3 million people, need humanitarian assistance. 7 million people are struggling to find food every day. Nearly two and a half million are at risk of famine, yet aid is grossly insufficient.
Father James Oyet, Secretary General, South Sudan Council of Churches which is a Christian Aid partner organisation, said: “Inter-communal violence, armed conflict, COVID-19, and climate change-induced floods are wreaking havoc on our communities and sending hunger spiralling out of control. The main driver of escalating food insecurity is violence, conflict and a lack of peace.”
James Wani, Christian Aid’s Country Director in South Sudan, added: “South Sudan desperately needs adequate implementation of the 2018 peace agreement, without this we are seeing millions grappling devastating hunger”.
The conflict and insecurity in Afghanistan have meant that more than half the Afghanistan population is now in need of humanitarian assistance. More than half a million people have been uprooted and internally displaced from their homes since the beginning of 2021. At least 80 percent of those displaced are believed to be women and children. These needs have been further exacerbated due to drought, conflict and the added complication of COVID.
Subrata De, Christian Aid’s Country Director for Afghanistan, stated: “The commitments of $1.2 billion made by member states at last week’s High-Level meeting on Afghanistan are welcomed, but clarification is needed on how much of this will actually reach the marginalised and vulnerable people of Afghanistan and how soon. People urgently require assistance. With winter fast approaching, remoter regions will soon become inaccessible, increasing numbers of Afghans will be affected and if not urgently addressed, the situation will reach crisis point. It is crucial that any funds delivered are channelled through local NGO and civil society groups on the ground doing community-based work and able to deliver the assistance required.”
Peace, and a recovery from COVID-19, is not yet in reach for the peoples of South Sudan and Afghanistan. Without this, further lives will be lost due to conflict and hunger.
To donate to Christian Aid’s Hunger Appeal, please visit www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/emergencies/afghanistan-hunger-appeal