File photo shows South Sudanese women carry water in a UN camp in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Dec. 22, 2013. (Xinhua/Lu Rui)
JUBA, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) plans to step up collaboration with China to promote Beijing's contribution to relief assistance and to enable Chinese people to better understand the humanitarian challenges facing Africa, a senior ICRC official told Xinhua.
Patricia Danzi, ICRC's Regional Director for Africa, said her planned trip to Beijing later this month seeks to build stronger partnership to tackle Africa's humanitarian crisis.
"For us it is important to get the attention of the Chinese people on the humanitarian issues that the continent is facing because it is always more complex than just avert issues," Danzi said in an interview in Juba.
"There are nuances to this and we would like the Chinese people to be curious about the nuance and we would like the Chinese population to be aware of the different needs," she added.
During a five-day visit to South Sudan, Danzi held talks with the Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan to shed light about her planned visit to China.
She also visited ICRC teams that are helping thousands of South Sudanese with urgent food and medical assistance.
"What we like to promote more is to raise awareness among the Chinese leaders, Chinese audience, the average Chinese men and women in the street," Danzi told Xinhua.
Danzi appealed to donors to expedite mobilization of resources to avert looming humanitarian catastrophe in South Sudan, where the UN declared a famine in some parts of the country and where 100,000 people are said to be starving and another 1 million on the brink of starvation.
"We have seen the long, slow deterioration in people's health because of the extended fighting, the abandoning of homes and crops and the constant nutritional deficit that has weakened people. People in South Sudan and Somalia are tough people. But now they tell us a combination of drought and conflict has made them more vulnerable," Danzi noted.
"The crisis is serious; the international community should act and should look at it seriously because it's not only about providing food to hungry people that the problem will be solved over night. It is a responsibility of many," she said.
According to the UN, at least 12 million people in East Africa's Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are in need of food assistance due to severe drought.
It said since the start of 2017, things have gotten worse due to increasing food insecurity, rise in diseases and continued displacement of people.
According to the UN refugee agency, sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26 percent (over 18 million) of the world's refugee population, with the numbers projected to soar amid ongoing conflicts and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan.