By Martin Ariel Majak, Alexandria, Egypt
February 27, 2017 (SSB) —- It was widely reported by the mainstream media such as, the BBC and Al Jazeera, in the past days or so that some parts of our country have been hit by famine.
You may excuse me if I may be behind the news but I thought it right that I should write this piece, however late it is, which I should have done some days ago but instead got preoccupied with other things.
When I learned that famine had struck, it took me by no surprise though as I foresaw it coming. Others could have easily forecast it too as famine is usually associated with areas convulsing of internal instabilities and strife.
In fact the whole country is acutely affected by famine not “parts of it” as initially pronounced. And also too, famine long existed on the ground before it was declared in the media and eventually got its way to the attention of the world.
Pundits were left wandering, asking themselves what actually went wrong. In the past famines that struck, Arabs were scapegoated and what about now?
Okay, perhaps there would be no definite answer to the cause of this famine but it, largely, has something to do with the War coupled with irregular rains. To me, the former, is the main contributory factor to the famine ravaging our country than the latter.
War has upended the lives of many South Sudanese in several ways. It displaced many from their farmlands to IDP camps. Others were forced to cross borders to the neighboring countries leaving behind their abundantly fertile lands.
The resilient few who fled nowhere got deny the chance to farm by rains that have become inconsistent in the recent past due to changes in climatic conditions which is said to be a hoax by the likes of Trump of US. Climate change is real.
The end result of the long drought is lack of food at such times when people should have been feasting as their granaries should still have been full. Famine usually threatens in the months of June and July when people are running out of stock and are awaiting harvest of their crops in the months of August.
Famine is something unheard of for quite some time now in some spheres of the world. We reminded them of its existence when it reared up it is ugly head in our country.
War, economic crisis and now famine, do all have their teeth sunk in the deep fascia of South Sudanese. Can we afford to soldier on? It’s a question I can’t answer. But history tells that South Sudanese are like elastic fibers that can bear any stress without permanent deformation.
But that doesn’t mean that the government abdicates its utmost duty of taking care of its people. The government must put the lid on the burning flame of abject poverty in our country.
Famine is no stranger to many people in our country as it has hit us more than once before. The recent births of early 21st century may be the ones without knowledge and experience of it and will mostly likely suffer the most.
Now that famine has added itself to the litany of problems our country is facing, what is the way forward? Shrug it off as usual by the government and think it will leave by its own, then, that will be a delusional thinking.
Something has to be done about it now rather than later. Famine must have no place in our country.
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