The US has authorized an additional USD 180 million in food aid for South Sudan, a country now facing the worst food security situation in the world, according to the UN and other international agencies. In a statement released Tuesday, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said "emergency funding authority" had to be used - something the US has not done since 2008.
The Department of Agriculture's Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust - which holds four metric tons of wheat, corn, sorghum, and rice for "unanticipated emergencies" - and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will be providing the food, she declared.
"Since the start of this crisis, the United States has provided the South Sudanese with more than USD 456 million in humanitarian aid," said Rice. "But the scale of the suffering and humanitarian need there is shocking, and the threat of famine is real." She also called on both parties to the conflict there - South Sudan's government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) - to resolve their differences, particularly as they were unable to reach a peace deal and form a transitional government by the August 10 deadline.
"President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar must immediately assume their responsibilities to the South Sudanese to prevent further needless suffering," urged Rice. "It is more critical than ever that both sides end the violence and ensure the safety of humanitarian aid workers so that they can reach those most in need across South Sudan." "The people are suffering because of the inability of South Sudan's leaders to put their people's interests above their own," she added, assuring that the US "will continue to work for the peaceful resolution of the conflict."