Inside South Sudan: ITV News witnesses the human cost of man-made famine in the world's newest country
After years of conflict and economic instability, famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, with the UN warning 100,000 people face starvation with a further 1 million at risk.
According to Unicef, more than 270,000 children are suffering severe malnutrition amid this humanitarian crisis.
ITV News Africa Correspondent John Ray has witnessed first-hand the human cost of the famine.
The world’s first famine in six years. Of all South Sudan’s torments, hunger now holds the greatest fear.
It is a crisis of humanity that is entirely man-made.
Years of civil war - a tribal struggle for domination the UN has warned verges on the brink of genocide - have forced million to leave their homes, their cattle, and theirs harvests.
The result is a quarter of the country’s population in need of urgent help.
South Sudan already soaks up a huge sum of international aid.
But it’s not enough.
We visited a clinic for severely malnourished children in Ganyeil, an outpost close to the famine’s epicentre.
Their doctors and nurses from the International Rescue Committee treating thirteen starving children.
But the centre’s funding runs out at the end of March. Staff dare not consider the consequences of closure.
‘’Without the help we give, many of these babies would die,’’ one nurse told me.
Just once a month into Ganyeil, the World Food Programme delivers supplies.
In baking heat, thousands queue patiently to carry away their rations.
But since the last registration, 6,000 more people have arrived, many walking many days through the sand-blown wastelands on the mere rumour of food.
They will need to wait another month before their names are taken, their identities checked, and their life-saving supplies dished out.
In the meantime, we watched them scrabble through the dirt and grass for grains of cereal spilt from the air-drop.
Others have no choice but to throw themselves on the mercy of the local community; those with nothing begging for help from those with very little.
In a UNICEF supported clinic we met a little girl called Dalia. Perilously thin, barely able to walk.
She’s six years old, the same age as her troubled country. Their uncertain fates seem somehow intertwined.
South Sudan: The world's newest country facing a humanitarian crisis
‘’My daughter needs peace. My country needs peace. Without peace there is no hope,’’ her mother told me.
Of course, she’s right. South Sudan needs peace. But in the meantime it needs even more help. First the war, then the famine, now the reckoning.
To find out more about the work of the International Rescue Committee in South Sudan click here, and to donate towards relief efforts click here.
You can also find out more about the work of UNICEF in East Africa and donate by clicking here.