Home | News    Saturday 3 March 2012

Severe food shortages hit Bahr el Ghazal


March 2, 2012 (JUBA) - The United Nations (UN) has warned that more than half of South Sudan’s ten states will suffer severe food shortages this year. Unity State, parts of Upper Nile, Jonglei, Warrap, Central Equatoria and Northern Bahr El Ghazal have a cereal deficit of 70%, according to the UN.

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Sacks of food rations are distributed to Internally Displaced People in Pibor County January 12, 2012. (Reuters)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan reported this week that 2012 could see worse hunger than the previous year. OCHA’s weekly humanitarian report on the world’s youngest country warns that: "the hunger season is likely to begin in March and extend until September, rather than the usual period of May to August".

"Households will face significant difficulty obtaining food during this period. Volatile food supply and poor diets are likely to intensify the severity of the hunger season".

Funding shortages mean that 288,000 South Sudanese in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Northern Bahr El Ghazal states will be left without agricultural support, UN partners have said. However, around the same number, approximately 282,000 people, will benefit from tools, seeds and livestock, according to the report.

Partners of the UN are prepositioning farming inputs for 282,000 people in the four states of Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Northern Bahr El Ghazal. Due to funding shortfalls, however, a further 288,000 people in those four affected states will be left without agricultural support, partners warn.

Funding shortfalls have also meant that "no farming assistance has been planned for Warrap, which has a further 31,000 households in need and unsupported".

Northern Bahr el Ghazal

Local leaders from South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal State told Sudan Tribune that they fear slipping into major food crisis, if no immediate attention is paid before rainy season begins.

Many attribute the causes of the looming food crisis in the area to the delayed and unreliable rainfall, which the state witnessed in 2011. The state government also links the cause to the closure of north-south border trade, which existed prior to official declaration of South Sudan as an independent state in July 2011.

The Juba government has identified the state as the most poverty stricken area followed by Warrap and Unity, according to the Director of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Isaiah Chol Aruai. Aruai says that half of the country’s 8 million people live on less a dollar a day.

Reports from humanitarian organisations including World Food Programme (WFP) also indicate that nearly a third of the country’s population could need food aid this year while many of the estimated 700,000 South Sudanese remaining in the neighbouring Sudan may soon to migrate to South Sudan. South Sudanese have until 9 April to apply for a work permit to remain in Sudan or to leave the country.

Valentino Achak Deng, a civil rights activist from Northern Bahr el Ghazal, said that last year’s harvest was poor, mainly due to late rains. Many internally displaced people had recently returned to their homes, he said, with little or nothing to support themselves. Prices of food items have drastically increased to their highest level ever, everywhere in the area, following the blockade of the north-South border.

“The indication is that 1988 famine seems to repeating itself and at worst case scenario than ever seen. You and I and able persons maybe at a position of supporting their immediate families, but my worry are that too many lives are at great risk. Lets shout out to every open ear that we need help in Northern Bahr el Gazal State! There is need for the State and federal Government, the civil society groups, the NGOs to join forces this time around to campaign against looming famine in the county”, Deng told Sudan Tribune in an email on Friday.


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  • 3 March 2012 10:19, by Son of Upper Nile

    I am shore the parts of Upper Nile that are affected are Nuer Counties, these are the counties that don’t contribute to the State Ministry of Finance although they are the ones consuming the state budget. I hope they learn to produce food like Renk, Manyo, Maban, Fashoda, Melut, Akoka, Panyikang & Makal Counties.

    repondre message

  • 3 March 2012 14:00, by Loko El Pollo


    repondre message

    • 3 March 2012 14:23, by Chok Deng

      To Darkangel,do you think there is no food shortage in the north as you assume.The good new is that we stop our oil flow through north.If you get your share from NCP,then it means to u that all northerners are not hungry? Face your death with your boss very soon,either by SRF or ICC!!

      repondre message

  • 3 March 2012 14:36, by viper

    What will prevent this Nation from being hit by HUNGER when all the leaders are sending the money abroad? We either remain starved or tell the SPLM looters to their villages and leave the country to those who can manage it more than them

    repondre message

    • 3 March 2012 15:09, by sober

      Some of them predict that in five years South will turn to be no man land. Personally i think that will be true. Tribal wars, starvation , political egotism, illiteracy , laziness . South ( Cray beloved country) .

      repondre message

      • 3 March 2012 16:25, by Hardball

        Sober, did you see the Lamu Project in the next headline? What you just describe is what will happen to North Sudan. Did you see the heat you already felt in Khartoum now for just one month of oil shut down?

        Look, we can’t wait to see how hot it will be for the next 10 years! Set your time clock and we will set our time clock in the South and let’s wait and see.

        repondre message

  • 3 March 2012 19:46, by marie

    People of RSS should not depend on handouts from NGOs but should work hard to meet their basic daily needs. All crops take three months to yield. There is no reason for us to keep on depending on imported food items from our neighbours in the last seven years. It is individual responsibility. The government cannot do anything because everybody in the government is just working for their salaries.

    repondre message

  • 3 March 2012 19:49, by marie

    Our people should avoid their rivalry and cattle rustling and concentrate in developing themselves. The cattle we have is of no use to us anyways. The cattle consumed in most of the big towns are imported from Uganda. When we do not take it upon ourselves to improve our livelihood nobody would do it for us. It is just another Nigger dying anyways.
    We should be focused and leave the government

    repondre message

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