“Nobody should be dying of starvation in 2017. There is enough food in the world, we have enough capability in terms of the humanitarian community,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General Justin Forsyth earlier this year.
And yet 1.4 million children are at risk of dying before we reach 2018.
Nakai Natede is one of them.
She vomits her milk substitute over herself and onto the bunk she shares with her mother. Her stomach no longer remembers what to do with food. Instead, her body has begun to consume itself.
Nakai Natede’s family has spent several months living on a starvation diet. Berries called Laloub and leaves called Ligie, nothing that a seven month-old stomach can deal with.
Her mother’s breasts no longer produce milk.
The girl is one of hundreds of thousands of children who have no food in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan.
They are victims not only of climate change and drought, but also of a three-year civil war that sees the regime accused of blocking food shipments to certain areas.
Without the help of Save the Children, Nakai Natede would be dead.
She vomits again.
Donald Duck looks down from the wall. So do Goofy and Mickey Mouse. Their cheery faces are taped up around the dirty hospital room.
Of course, someone meant well.
But the perennial smiles of the Disney figures grate. They are tourists here. And the same is true of us. Us from the part of the world where children’s bodies do not eat themselves.