By Francis Kagolo
The South Sudanese government has asked humanitarian agencies to increase food aid to the war-torn country to avert an imminent tough famine.
Addressing the media at the South Sudan embassy in Kampala, Vice President Wani Igga said the humanitarian crisis was worsening by the day.
“Famine is imminent; so we want the people of goodwill top come to our rescue,” he said.
The UN said recently estimated close to four million people are in acute need of food aid and that $1.3bn (about sh3.3trillion) was needed to arrest the food crisis.
A clash between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to sacked vice-president Machar in a military barracks in Juba last year is what snowballed into full-scale fighting across the world’s newest nation.
At least 10,000 people died within the first three weeks of the conflict, according to a report by the International Crisis Group, a research and advocacy institution.
The group reported that more than 200,000 people have been displaced inside South Sudan, including about 60,000 taking shelter at UN compounds. More than 30,000 others fled to neighbouring countries like Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.
Accompanied by his minister Deng Deng, the vice president is in Uganda together with members of the National Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation (NDPR) which Kiir set up recently.
They are meeting both South Sudan nationals and Uganda government authorities soliciting suggestions to resolution conflict.
The team met President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday and is to travel to the other three IGAD member states before returning home for the national reconciliation and healing conference.
Recommendations will then inform the agenda for the national constitutional conference to deliberate on the necessary interim government. According to Igga, “the view on the ground is that the interim regime should be led by the existing democratically elected government.”
Igga commended Uganda’s army for their “professional” service in South Sudan.
“We agreed in January that for the sake of peace talks, troops from Uganda should not be active on the frontline anymore. The UPDF has not been on the front since then,” he stated.
Uganda deployed troops in South Sudan moments after clashes erupted mid-December last year and has raged on for close to six months now.
According to UPDF commander Gen. Katumba Wamala, Ugandan troops are in South Sudan on the invitation of the Juba government and will gladly pull out once the intervention force suggested by IGAD is in place.
South Sudan calls for more food aid