By Julius N. Uma
March 11, 2013 (JUBA) – Violence in South Sudan is likely to internally displace about 200,000 people, while up to 350,000 refugees, mainly from Sudan are expected into the country this year, the United Nations said in a report.
- People displace by ethnic violence in Pibor County, Jonglei state February 2, 2012 (ST/Julius Uma)
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in its latest report, also anticipates that heightened conflict and economic instability is likely to increase the number of people requiring food assistance by more than a million.
“Insecurity remains a major constraint to optimizing South Sudan’s agricultural potential. Incidents of armed cattle rustling, violence between and among communities, and the activities of non-state armed groups continue to inhibit farmers,” partly reads the report.
Meanwhile, over 4 million South Sudanese are reportedly at risk of food insecurity this year, with at least one million likely to face severe consequences.
The projection, detailed in a new report by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), also paints a gloomy picture on food availability in the country, with anticipated high food prices and poor commercial supplies feared in most parts of the country.
Conducted between October and November 2012, the FAO-WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) to South Sudan report, remains a vital tool in analyzing the country’s agricultural production and food availability.
This year’s figure, however, shows a slight decrease from that of last year, which stood at 4.7 million people, with the report partly attributing it to improvements in cereal harvest.
“The food security outlook for the poorest, most food insecure people engaged in marginal livelihoods will remain negative, with food assistance requirements staying largely unchanged”, the CFSAM report, says.
Food production in South Sudan, it adds, increased by over 35 per cent between 2011 and 2012 due to good rains, improved cultivation practices and expanded area under cultivation, with cereal deficits estimated at 371,000 metric tons for the year.
About 224,000 metric tonnes of food, according to WFP, is required to cater for the urgent needs of up to 2.8 million people, including food insecure rural families, vulnerable children, internally displaced people, refugees and returnees.
South Sudan reportedly has only $73m of the $1.2bn Consolidated Appeal (CAP) fund earmarked for this year’s humanitarian needs.