China has donated 1,700 tons of rice to South Sudan as part of efforts to help the world’s youngest nation that is facing a humanitarian crisis.
During the ceremony for the donation held in the capital Juba on April 6, Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan Ma Qiang said that China was concerned with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Sudan.
“Rice is the first phase of Chinese donation agreed upon by the two governments in July 2015,” said Ma.
Medical aid from China is also due in Juba soon, to be given to the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, an agency of the South Sudanese government, according to the ambassador.
South Sudan is suffering a food shortage due to poor crop production, with UN agencies putting the cereal deficit this year in the country at 381,000 tons, up 53 percent from a year earlier.
Humanitarian efforts in South Sudan have been largely halted since civil conflict began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir fell out with his former deputy Riek Machar, who later formed a rebel force.
Ma said China would continue to support South Sudan in solving some of the challenges it faces.
South Sudan’s Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Awut Deng Achuil, expressed gratitude for the Chinese aid.
“Your support will surely save life and alleviate the suffering of our people and the government. China will not be forgotten by the people of South Sudan,” Awut said.
A recent report issued by UN agencies warns that food insecurity has spread to areas previously considered “relatively stable” in South Sudan with food prices soaring.