Famine again a threat in South Sudan, new report says

2018-02-26 17:03
 (Sam Mednick, AP)

(Sam Mednick, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Juba - One year after South Sudan briefly declared a famine, more than half of the people in the world's youngest nation face extreme hunger amid civil war and famine could return, a new report says.

More than six million people, up about 40% from a year ago, are at threat without aid, according to the report released on Monday by the United Nations and South Sudan's government. It says 150 000 people in 11 counties in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity and Western Bahr el Ghazal states could slip into famine this year.

"These are unprecedented levels of food insecurity," Ross Smith, senior programme officer for the UN's World Food Program, told The Associated Press. He said a political solution in South Sudan is needed so that its people can rebuild their lives.

Five years of fighting have devastated the East African nation. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million have fled the country.

A year ago South Sudan declared famine in two counties where 100 000 people faced starvation. After a rapid aid response, further crisis was averted and the famine declaration was lifted in June.

"The situation is extremely fragile, and we are close to seeing another famine," said Serge Tissot, representative of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation in South Sudan. "The projections are stark. If we ignore them, we'll be faced with a growing tragedy."

One in three people in South Sudan have been forced from their homes by the civil war, resulting in the worst production of the country's staple grains since the conflict began in late 2013, the FAO said.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

While supportive of the aid response, South Sudan's government worries that it is crippling the nation.

"If a country relies on aid it'll develop a dependency syndrome," said Hussein Mar Nyot, minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management. People will forget their skills the longer they aren't able to cultivate the land, he said.

"I just move from one place to another looking for food," one resident, Chol Makuey, told the AP in one of the worst-affected areas, Ayod County, in December.

Cradling her severely malnourished 1-year-old daughter, Makuey said the fighting has prevented her from farming, instead forcing her to wander through villages begging friends and family to share their rations.

Aid workers warn that if the situation persists, even with food aid, more than 30 counties in South Sudan could face severe hunger by May, requiring large-scale assistance.

The UN humanitarian response plan for South Sudan has received less than 4% of its funding for 2018, with a gap of more than $1.7bn.

Last year President Salva Kiir ordered unrestricted access for aid groups, but aid workers say the situation hasn't changed and the current dry season could make it worse.

"Continued human rights violations, including blocking of civilian access to food by both the government and opposition forces, have led to severe food insecurity," said Alicia Luedke, South Sudan researcher for rights group Amnesty International.

Read more on:    un  |  amnesty international  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.