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South Sudan facing food shortfall due to floods, says FAO

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November 21, 2019 (JUBA) - South Sudan is currently facing food shortfall of 700,000 metric tonnes owing to the devastating floods that have hit parts of the country, a United Nations Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) official said.

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South Sudanese farmers and their produce, January 2011 (Getty)

The FAO country representative for South Sudan, Meshack Malo said the current floods could affect farmers expected to be harvesting produce.

"The current floods have definitely injected fears on the initial estimates of food-insecure people. Definitely the number will increase with FAO forecast showing 74,157 hectares of cultivated land damaged with an estimated loss of 72,611 tonnes of grain in flood-affected areas," he told Xinhua Tuesday.

Malo said more food aid is needed besides increased investment in agriculture sector to alleviate the food deficit.

"Given the natural resource and climatic endowment of South Sudan, it can exist from food aid through investment in the production sector. This is definitely considering keenly the nutritional and sustainable agriculture production," he added.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), more than 908,000 people have been affected by heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding, of whom 620,000 people need immediate humanitarian aid.

Last month, President Salva Kiir declared a state of emergency in Greater Bahr al-Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria regions, and it made urgent appeals for humanitarian intervention.

$61 million is needed to save lives and respond to floods in South Sudan, the UN said last week.

(ST)

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