The UNICEF has released a report that states that as many as 1.4 million children in South Sudan could be at risk of imminent death. This comes just one day after famine was formally declared in Unity State, in central South Sudan.
The region is gripped by both a crippling drought and a civil war. The war has been raging since 2013, and has added a horrific twist to their newly won independence.
Drought in the region stretches back further than the war, and has put almost a quarter of the population at risk of severe malnutrition.
The regional drought is thought to be caused by warming ocean temperatures in the Pacific, and an exaggerated El Nino. It is very difficult to separate the effects of the civil war from the punishing conditions that the drought creates.
Together they create a dire situation that is destroying a generation of children.
Climate change has to be taken seriously, and the developed world needs to recognize that our economics extend their reach into areas that can be very dangerous to the most vulnerable among us.
Airlifting food into areas that don’t have water because of human-made drought is a poor substitute for making changes to how we power our lives.
Perhaps one of the cruelest ironies of this situation is the fact that South Sudan is an oil rich area. It is a stark reminder of the value that water and social cohesion play in our modern world.
Clean water is worth more than anything else, and the pursuit profit is a toxic delusion that is endangering our ability to sustain human life.
There are other options available, but we have to make changes.