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NZ Aid workers launch joint appeal for South Sudan famine

New Zealand’s major aid agencies are uniting in an urgent plea for public donations to support their collective effort to prevent a humanitarian calamity in South Sudan and neighbouring countries.

“New Zealand agencies are saving lives in South Sudan and the Greater Horn of Africa, but we need more money to keep up with the scale of the suffering,” says Mark Mitchell, spokesperson for New Zealand’s alliance of international relief agencies. “Today we’re appealing to the New Zealand public with one voice to help us do more.”

The United Nations and government of South Sudan have declared a famine in South Sudan – the first the world has seen in six years. According to the UN, the South Sudan famine is affecting more than 100,000 people in Unity State. There are fears it will spread to a further 5 million across the country already facing severe food shortages.

“The number of people threatened with famine in South Sudan is equivalent to the entire population of New Zealand,” says Mitchell. “We need to act now to prevent more people dying of hunger.”

Seven New Zealand agencies are already conducting relief operations in South Sudan and the Greater Horn of Africa region, where conflict and drought have placed 70 million people in eight countries in need of immediate food aid. Thanks to the combined efforts of Caritas Aotearoa NZ, Christian World Service, UNICEF NZ, World Vision NZ, Save the Children NZ, Tearfund NZ, and ChildFund NZ, hundreds of thousands are receiving emergency food and water supplies, shelter, education and medical care.

To learn more about the crisis in South Sudan and the Greater Horn of Africa, and ways that you can donate to New Zealand relief efforts, go to

*Non-Governmental Organisations Disaster Relief Forum (NDRF) is an open forum for 14 New Zealand-based NGOs that are involved in international humanitarian response and emergency management. NDRF is an autonomous sub-committee of the Council for International Development. NDRF members are ADRA, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, cbm, ChildFund, Christian World Service, Habitat for Humanity, The Leprosy Mission, Oxfam, Rotary New Zealand World Community Service, The Salvation Army, Save the Children New Zealand, TEARFund, UNICEF NZ, World Vision.


Contextual Notes – Food Insecurity in Greater Horn of Africa

Global hunger levels are at their highest for decades, with four countries – Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia – facing the risk of famine and 70 million people in need of food aid, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a US-based agency.

Failed rains across parts of the Greater Horn of Africa, following one of the strongest El Niño events on record, has led to a drought affecting Somalia, south-eastern Ethiopia and northern and eastern Kenya.

The Greater Horn of Africa comprises eight countries - Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

New Zealand humanitarian agencies are active across the Greater Horn of Africa, with ongoing relief operations in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Through generous donations from the New Zealand public, these agencies are providing relief to hundreds of thousands of disaster-affected men, women and children, including food and clean water, protection services, shelter, hygiene and sanitation, and livelihoods support.

South Sudan’s three-year civil conflict has destroyed much in the world’s newest country. The economy is in ruins, 3.4 million people have been displaced, and violence against civilians continues even as the famine worsens. New Zealand agencies are well-established in the country, supporting South Sudanese affected by the gruesome conflict.

Like South Sudan, Somalia is facing a likely famine, with more than 6 million people - half its population - experiencing acute food insecurity.

New Zealand and other aid groups are racing to prevent a repeat of the 2011 famine in that country, when an estimated 260,000 people starved to death after a slow response from donors.

February 26, 2017