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One in three South Sudanese will need food aid in 2012 - UN

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January 8, 2012 (BOR) – South Sudan’s first full year as an independent nation will be characterised by hunger if urgent action is not taken to address the consequences of poor harvests, price hikes, conflict and displacement, a UN report says.

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)

A UN report, published on Wednesday, found that over half of South Sudan’s eight million population will be food insecure and over one third will require food aid in 2012.

The joint report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) found that the number of food insecure people will increase by over 40% to 4.7 million, up from 3.3 million.

The number of severely food insecure people has also increased from 900,000 to 1 million, the report carried out in October and November discovered.

Commissioned by the government of South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the research was carried out before a peak in violence in Jonglei and, more recently Unity and Warrap States.

Cattle raids have affected 140,000 in Jonglei since December, while in Warrap 3,000 people were displaced and 40,000 people have had their livelihoods affected after their livestock was stolen in January.

If such incidents continue to cause major population displacements and food prices keep rising, the report estimates that the number of people who are severely food-insecure could double.

In the seven months since South Sudan’s independence the country has had to cope with high inflation and increasing food prices, and an increased demand on resources caused in part by the large number of returnees from North Sudan.

Rebellions, cattle raiding, and banditry in meany areas have meant that many areas have not produced as much they could.

All these factors have led to a shortfall in cereal production. The new nation would be in a better position to cope with the stress on resources were it not for the grain scandal that saw billions of dollars disappear into fake business that were supposed to buy grain and build stores in case of emergencies.

In an interview with the BBC broadcast on Tuesday, the UN chief for South Sudan that the government must back up its words on corruption with action.

"This is a rapidly approaching crisis that the world cannot afford to ignore," said Chris Nikoi, WFP’s country director in South Sudan. "The situation is dire, and we are doing everything we can to be ready, but we are running out of time."

“We need to enable households to first have quick access to safe, nutritious food and other basic necessities, but in order to restore and sustain food and nutrition security in South Sudan, we need to break the cycle of increasing hunger and poverty. We can do this by helping people to resume the farming, livestock and other activities that support their livelihoods,” said George Okeh, the head of the FAO’s South Sudan office.

National cereal production in South Sudan dropped 19% between 2010 and 2011, falling to 25% less than the average over the last five years. In 2012, the assessment found, there will be a cereal deficit of more than 470,000 metric tons – ’almost half of the country’s total consumption requirements for the year’.

South Sudan’s lack of access of international markets has meant that the deficit has not corrected itself, according to the report. The situation has been compounded by the closure of the border with North Sudan since independence as various disputes remain unresolved.

What food is imported into South Sudan struggles to reach or be affordable to those who need it due to poor infrastructure and high fuel prices.

FOOD AID IN 2012

In 2012 WFP is aiming to provide 150,000 metric tons of food to 2.7 million vulnerable people, focusing on ’children and nursing mothers, internally displaced people, refugees and returnees’, the report said.

However, the report said WFP and its partners are preparing for if the situation in South Sudan deteriorates further. The report said the UN was ready to try and raise more than the $160 million that was initially planned for this year’s operation.

(ST)

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  • 9 February 2012 06:33, by omoni jr.

    Bor one in three need food in south sudan???
    Bor is NOT SOUTH SUDAN,IS city within south sudan.
    Fighting does not even affect entire regions of south sudan,and it is even just tribal conflicts which is normal to the people who carry it on.

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    • 9 February 2012 06:40, by omoni jr.

      This is totally propaganda and lies too,reporters need to be specific when producing a such sensitive information to the media,go to Equatoria region, some communities dont need help for food, they have their own food,they work hard and produce their food,they follow what the Bible say,whoever does not work is not supposed to eat,bible says.

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      • 9 February 2012 07:13, by John Bang

        It’s good when people are dying for hunger for the case of insecurity exactly will affect those whose aimm are not thinking for development of S.S.Let them suffer and tommorow ’ll be under the neck of Murle, Nuer know how to work with their hands,they will surrender their guns to the gov’t and work for their families.

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  • 9 February 2012 07:57, by Madina Tonj

    I said last time and I will repeated again, Nuer tribe and Murle tribes are the worst people in Southern Sudan nation following others tribes from Eastern Equatoria State. Nuer tribe have no friend at all, those surround them have been unfriendly with Nuer same thing in Murle tribe. I blame their parents for not teaching their kids on how to respect others and be social person. Nuer,Murle worsen p

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  • 9 February 2012 09:00, by mohammed ali

    If 4.7 millions are starving while the population of SS is about 8 millions,the the ration will ratio will be 1:2 e.i One in Two.You need to brush your matemetical skills ST.Interesttingly Sava Kiir is talking about Baheer’s problems in Khartoum.For sure Basheer has got huge problems,but don’t you feel the magnitude of your problems Mr.President? Oh your family is in Austaralia,nearly forget that!

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    • 9 February 2012 12:19, by Logic

      That report estimated that 4.7 will be food insecure, not “starving”, which means they may not have sufficient food in a given period. the 8m population was not endorsed by S. Sudan as it was manipulated by the NCP for the purpose of wealth sharing which was based on those figures. This was verified by NGOs as entire southern counties were not counted.

      Stop propagating!

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    • 9 February 2012 12:23, by Logic

      And for those fools who don’t understand the workings of such international bodies (UN), do some research.

      Its in the interest of the UN’s budget gathering process to exaggerate figures in order to secure funding, pointing the finger at S. Sudan will not make the problems of N. Sudan disappear.

      Sad bigoted fools.

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      • 10 February 2012 03:38, by Daniel Buolmawei

        Jalaby and Mohammed, I like your presence on this forum so you witness how freedom works. In a demorcratic South Sudan, you can see now everything is reported by the media including UN that has no chances in Khartoum to report anything. There are more than 4.7 millions in the North starving but because no reports on their suffering because Khartoumers are ruthless against the media-

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        • 10 February 2012 03:44, by Daniel Buolmawei

          You think such shortages of food are none existent in the north. South Sudan will be financially better off once the insecurity is halted.

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  • 10 February 2012 02:56, by ahme adam

    Haha why not Salva Kiir give some money to SS people in his swiss bank over 20 BILLION DOLLARS, SHAME ON YOU SALVA KIIR, GIVE SOUTH SUDANESE PEOPLE SOME OF THE MONEY SO THEY CAN EAT

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