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Famine declared in parts of South Sudan

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February 20, 2017 (JUBA) - War and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people starving in parts of South Sudan, government and three United Nations agencies said Monday.

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IDPs wait to receive food rations and other items from the WFP at a distribution point in Pibor town, Jonglei 21 March 2009 - (photo UN)

An additional one million people in the war-torn nation, the United Nations agencies projected, could be on the brink of famine.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger.

“If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated,” partly reads a joint statement the agencies issued on Monday.

The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people, over 40% of South Sudan’s population, are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

Unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe, the UN agencies urged. Further spread of famine can only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the most vulnerable.

Famine, the agencies said, is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country. A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger. The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted over three years ago.

“Famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and our worst fears have been realised. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” said FAO Representative in South Sudan, Serge Tissot.

“The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch,” he added.

Malnutrition is a major public health emergency, exacerbated by the widespread fighting, displacement, poor access to health services and low coverage of sanitation facilities.

The IPC report estimates that 14 of the 23 assessed counties have global acute malnutrition at or above the emergency threshold of 15%, with some areas as high as 42%.

“More than one million children are currently estimated to be acutely malnourished across South Sudan; over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished. If we do not reach these children with urgent aid many of them will die,” said Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.

“We urge all parties to allow humanitarian organizations unrestricted access to the affected populations, so we can assist the most vulnerable and prevent yet another humanitarian catastrophe,” he added.

U.N agencies and other partners have conducted massive relief operations since the conflict began, and intensified those efforts throughout 2016 to mitigate the worst effects of the humanitarian crisis. In Northern Bahr El Ghazal state, among others, the IPC assessment team found that humanitarian relief had lessened the risk of famine there.

In 2016, WFP said it reached a record 4 million people in war-ravaged South Sudan with food assistance, including cash assistance amounting to US$13.8 million, and more than 265,000 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies. This is reportedly the highest largest number of people assisted by WFP in South Sudan since independence from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.

(ST)

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  • 20 February 11:31, by Eastern

    This declaration will not be denied by the tribal government in Juba because famine has sent families of SPLA soldiers to refugee camps in the neighbouring countries, besides, any food assistance will help the unpaid government employees as well.....

    repondre message

    • 20 February 15:48, by South South

      Eastern,

      This is what happen when people like you sit under computer and beat a dream of war 7/24. We are calling for peace to help everyone in South Sudan, but people like you think war will put them in power, that’s all what you care. When there is war, people will be killed, properties will destroyed and people will die from famine.

      repondre message

      • 20 February 18:55, by Eastern

        South Sudan,

        Kiir’s tribal government has been recalcitrant to the international community for last three years and you didn’t see anything bad in that attitude. Some you even without any shred of idea argued that sovereignty is equal to self sufficiency! People like you emboldened Kiir, Makuei, Malong and Co. to bring South Sudan this low, you take share of the blame!!!!

        repondre message

        • 20 February 20:46, by South South

          Eastern,

          I take zero share of what is happening in South Sudan now. I want peace for everybody in South Sudan. People like you who hide and use computer are part of the problem South Sudan is facing. Changing a leadership of any country never been a good solution to any problem. We have living examples in our life today. Look at Iraq or,Libya, what is happening there now?

          repondre message

    • 21 February 03:46, by barbayo

      when people are preaching peace some are preaching war and famine now does not know which tribes are you? if 100,000 are been affect by famine then even those thinks rebellion is better may run to camps, and its true that man made famine, now government become strong because people ran and that is bad , am simple question is how old are you now those who like to fuel the war? and if war continues

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      • 21 February 03:58, by barbayo

        — - for 15 years some of you may become old and old what are fruitful you got from your country and those are die in camps are South Sudanese regardless which tribes are you ,those like to preach the war you evaluate yourself and you thinking if you are nationalist ,those are die now are common citizens from your country.

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  • 20 February 12:38, by ngadodo

    War and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people starving in parts of South Sudan, it is Boma State which is variable to Salva Kiir Government I think this man came as Evil of our people. S Sudan its rich Country and in hand of Dump Man and don’t want to resignation in order to pay away to knowledgeable people to take Country forward, alway talk about him, him fought war meanwhile

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    • 20 February 12:44, by ngadodo

      his was slaughtering SPLA Solders prisoners and he was did lettle in really wars what i know his in two war since then his staying away from front line i don’t how many wars his in and some people attendancing more then 100000 wars and now his took them aways.

      repondre message

  • 20 February 13:31, by hamil

    "War and Collapsing economy"? Is Sudan Tribune for real? It is war and an economy that has collapsed completely flat. And does anyone actually think Kiir and the architects of this suffering the JCE give a shit what people are going through? These Jieng of Aweil and Warrap have no remorse they have cold and demonic hearts because it is them and their leaders who brought the suffering to South Suda

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    • 20 February 17:03, by Lango2010

      You got it wrong there, not Jieng of Aweil and Warrap that brought the suffering of our people but you have to blame it on greedy politician. Whether they are from which tribes or regions. Secondly it’s our ignorance that is killing us. We are impatient and greedy for power. Those suffering from famine are from all parts of South Sudan. Not from single tribe. The

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      • 20 February 17:08, by Lango2010

        The solution to that is deny rebellion and embrace peace, love, unity, and coexistence. Togetherness is the way forward, or less we end up in hell that and other nations enjoy our resources.

        repondre message

  • 20 February 18:41, by lino

    Very sad indeed. From an Independent to depending on others for food!!! What a power hungry leaders??! They never learned from Sudan destruction and now they are destroying their own!!!

    repondre message

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