(NBC NEWS) The United States announced Tuesday it will provide $180 million in emergency food aid to South Sudan, warning of a “shocking” crisis in the world’s youngest nation following months of civil war.

The move marked the first time the U.S. has used this type of emergency funding since 2008. National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned that “the threat of famine is real,” saying in a statement announcing the aid that “the scale of the suffering and humanitarian need there is shocking.”

South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011. Last week the United Nations said it was moving toward a “humanitarian catastrophe,” with four million people, including 50,000 children, threatened by starvation.

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