In February 2017, the United Nations declared a famine in South Sudan. It is the first official famine since 2011, when drought caused 260,000 deaths in Somalia. At the time, conditions turned around with the help of humanitarian aid and the return of the rainy season. But there’s no end in sight for the current famine in South Sudan. What makes the situation unique is that it’s caused by war, not drought.
A three-year-old civil war has destroyed crops and markets, and forced millions to flee. To make matters worse, fighters are blocking humanitarian aid to parts of the country as a way to starve each other, and it’s left millions of civilians trapped without access to food. This is why the crisis in South Sudan is being called a man-made famine. In fact, there are three other man-made famines developing in Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen.
Conflicts in all four countries have threatened to put 20 million people at risk of starvation. Watch the video above to understand the circumstances around each famine and why they’re so difficult to solve.