Hunger in South Sudan: CSI provides food aid

In South Sudan, a drought has left many families in desperate need of food. CSI was able to prevent widescale hunger by providing sorghum to thousands of people in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State in August.

The rainy season should have started in April or May but this year the rains did not come until July. Farmers compare it with 2011, a year of severe drought across East Africa.

As a result of the delayed rain, crops were not able to grow. Instead of enjoying the usual harvest, the people of the northern region faced a hunger gap in August as they waited for the crops to ripen. To keep hunger at bay some families were reduced to gathering and eating the seeds of wild weeds.

CSI’s project manager in South Sudan, Franco Majok, witnessed the desperation for himself, and promptly organized a food delivery. From August 18th to 23rd Franco oversaw the distribution of sorghum to 3,696 families in two hard-hit regions, saving them from likely starvation.

Without aid, many lives would be lost

“I have seen people collapsing from hunger and about to die,” Franco wrote in an email from South Sudan. “If CSI was not there to give them something to eat, many lives would be lost.”

One young woman he met was so weak that she fell to the ground and had to be revived with cold tea spooned into her mouth. For her, CSI’s arrival came just in time. “We saved her life,” said Franco.

Franco explained how he bought up two truckloads of sorghum in the South Sudan capital, Juba, and transported it to Northern Bahr el-Ghazal. Once there he made further grain purchases at local markets.

Depending on their need, families received between two and 100 kilos of sorghum. When it comes to allocating food, the CSI team listen to local leaders and follow their recommendations.

Apart from saving lives, the distribution of sorghum by CSI helped to drive down the price of the grain in the local markets, indirectly helping even more people, said Franco.

One of those CSI helped directly was Anok Angok Akok. She would spend hours every day collecting wild weed seeds in the hope of keeping her children alive. But the amount she collected was barely enough to feed one person. CSI gave Anok 50 kilos of grain.

“A sack of sorghum!” exclaimed one of Anok’s children, with a broad smile on her face. Anok too was very grateful. “God is near us,” she declared.