Cross Country Checkup

Should Canada do more to help avert the growing famine in South Sudan?

War and famine stalks millions in South Sudan. As mothers and children gather in feeding stations, their haunted faces say it all -- sunken expressions of hunger and despair. Should Canada do more to help avert the growing crisis?
Women and children wait to be registered prior to a food distribution carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Thonyor, Leer state, South Sudan. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters)
Listen to the full episode1:52:59

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: starvation crisis. 

War and famine stalk millions in South Sudan. As mothers and children gather in feeding stations, their haunted faces say it all - sunken expressions of hunger and despair. 

Should Canada do more to help avert the growing crisis?

Over half the population in South Sudan face starvation right now. The roots of the famine can be found in a civil war that's raged for three years now. Tens of thousands have died. Over three million people have fled their homes. But in the past few months, the situation has gotten worse.
Host of Cross Country Checkup, Duncan McCue.

Inflation has reached crippling levels. People simply can't afford food. The growing hunger spreads. In a country with few serviceable roads and aid workers are under attack, humanitarian agencies resort to air drops to deliver food.

The sick can't get help, as state clinics sit closed or understaffed. Even at UN camps set up to shelter tens of thousands of homeless, there are reports of lawlessness with women and girls facing horrendous levels of rape and sexual violence.

United Nations officials say more than twenty million are facing famine in the conflict-torn countries of South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria. It's been called the "largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War." The cost of averting it is pegged at over 4 billion dollars.

What should Canadians do?

The Prime Minister declared "Canada is back" on the world stage, after his election. Last year, the federal government committed to beefing up peace operations around the globe. Right now, there are 10 Canadian soldiers on the ground in Sudan. Do you think the government should commit more peacekeepers? 

What about humanitarian aid? Canada has provided $37 million dollars to South Sudan this year. Should we give more? What can be done to help civilians in countries torn by war and extremism? Remember humanitarian aid is expensive and the cost of peacekeeping is inevitably measured in human lives. 

Our question today: "Should Canada do more to help avert the growing famine in South Sudan?"

GUESTS

Father Nicholas Mauro Iko
Priest at St. Alphonsus Church in Windsor, Ont.

Tim Irwin
Chief communications coordinator UNICEF South Sudan, Totto Chan Compound, Juba.
Twitter: @irwintim

Margaret Evans 
CBC News Europe correspondent.
Twitter: @mevansCBC

Marie-Claude Bibeau
Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead, Que. Minister of International Development.
Twitter: @mclaudebibeau

Julia Bicknell
International affairs journalist based in London, England.

What we're reading

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Globe and Mail 

National Post

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