NEW YORK, March 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Famine in
South Sudan could be brought to an end if world leaders would
step in and keep local politicians from fighting over and
wasting funds that could help feed the starving nation, actor
George Clooney said in a newspaper opinion piece on Thursday.
Describing the famine as "government-made," Clooney said
South Sudan's political elite are fanning ethnic tensions to
build fortunes in the oil-rich nation.
Civil war broke out in South Sudan in 2013 after a
disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his former vice
president Riek Machar exploded into military confrontation.
The conflict pits the military of Kiir, an ethnic Dinka,
against forces loyal to Machar, a Nuer.
Nearly half the population, or about 5.5 million people, is
expected to be without a reliable source of food by July. Last
month, the United Nations said parts of South Sudan are already
suffering from famine.
Clooney, in an opinion piece published in the Washington
Post, called for "choking the illicit financial flows of the
"Even while the world responds to the famine, it's time also
to address root causes," said Clooney, who co-authored the piece
with John Prendergast, a human rights activist and author.
Clooney, 55, who has appeared in such films as "Ocean's
Eleven" and "Syriana," has used his stardom to bring attention
to humanitarian crises in South Sudan and neighboring Sudan.
Last year, the Sentry, a non-profit group he founded with
Prendergast, issued a report saying families on both sides of
South Sudan's civil war have amassed fortunes from the conflict.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Ellen
Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate
change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)