• Wednesday, 24 July 2024
According to UN officials, millions of people in South Sudan face starvation.

According to UN officials, millions of people in South Sudan face starvation.

The United Nations warned on Thursday that nearly eight million people in South Sudan, or two-thirds of the country's population, are at risk of starvation.

South Sudan, one of the world's poorest countries, has spent more than half of its history at war, with nearly 400,000 people killed during a five-year civil war that ended in 2018.

"Hunger and malnutrition are on the rise in South Sudan's flood, drought, and conflict-affected areas, with some communities facing starvation if humanitarian assistance is not sustained and climate adaptation measures are not scaled up," the report said.

According to a joint report by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, and the World Food Programme, the proportion of people facing high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition is "at an all-time high," surpassing levels seen even during the conflict in 2013 and 2016.

Severe food insecurity
During the April-July 2023 lean season, 7.76 million people are expected to face acute food insecurity, while 1.4 million children will be malnourished, according to the report.

The report blamed a combination of conflict, poor macroeconomic conditions, extreme weather events, and spiraling food and fuel prices, as well as a decrease in funding for humanitarian programs.

"We've been in famine prevention mode all year and have avoided the worst outcomes," Makena Walker, acting country director for the World Food Programme in South Sudan, said in a statement.

"South Sudan is at the forefront of the climate crisis, and families are losing their homes, cattle, fields, and hope on a daily basis," Walker said.

"Without humanitarian food assistance, millions more people will be in an increasingly desperate situation, unable to provide even the most basic food for their families."

Since its independence from Sudan in 2011, the world's youngest country has faced deadly conflict, natural disasters, economic malaise, and unending political infighting.

Famine was declared in South Sudan in 2017 in the Unity State counties of Leer and Mayendit, which have frequently been flashpoints for violence.

Flooding in South Sudan has reportedly affected around 909,000 people, according to the UN's emergency response agency OCHA, as torrential rains ravage crops and destroy homes.


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