Top UN official warns of famine in S Sudan

2014-02-11 20:38
Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

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Juba - The top United Nations aid official in South Sudan is warning of a potential famine if residents aren't able to plant and harvest crops.

Toby Lanzer said on Tuesday that following massive fighting that broke out in December, the UN is focusing on saving lives, preparing food distribution and "preventing a famine."

More than 800 000 people have been displaced by the fighting. Lanzer said if those displaced can't plant and harvest crops the results could be devastating. The UN says 3.2 million people are in need of immediate food aid.

Last week the UN said it needs $1.27bn to tackle the humanitarian crisis. Lanzer stressed that aid must be delivered before the rainy season begins in a couple months, when most of South Sudan becomes inaccessible because of muddy roads.

- AP
Read more on:    un  |  south sudan  |  east africa
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