UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Sudan faces a food crisis and famine will occur if the Sudanese government does not give aid organizations immediate access to border regions, officials said.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said she has warned the U.N. Security Council that aid must reach the Sudanese regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile before March or food security will decline to an emergency level, the Voice of America reported Wednesday.
The ambassador placed the blame for the situation squarely on Khartoum.
"The government of Sudan has deliberately denied access to international NGOs, the United Nations, and international humanitarian workers to the most affected populations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile," Rice told reporters. "The council discussed this at some length, and really this is a situation that is unconscionable and unacceptable."
Half a million people will face famine if international humanitarian organizations are not allowed into areas of Sudan mired in conflict, United States envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman warned.
Since South Sudan gained independence from the north in July 2011, fighting has continued in the oil-rich border regions of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Unity State and Upper Nile, CNN reported.
The government in Khartoum has said the areas are too dangerous for NGOs to operate in.
"Africa needs to speak with one voice," said Lyman, who was in the South African capital of Pretoria to rally support for African intervention in Sudan. "Africa needs to say, 'We cannot allow this to happen.'"