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$270m required to prevent famine in S. Sudan: WFP

December 19, 2019 (JUBA) – At least $270 million is urgently needed to avert a looming famine in South Sudan where about 5.5 million people could face starvation next year, the United Nations said.

Sudanese refugees in a refugees camp in Maban, South Sudan (WFP Photo)

David Beasley, World Food Programme’s (WFP) Executive Director disclosed that the agency remained $270 million short of the $697 million required to preposition food before the coming dry season.

This, he said, will enable food agency reach nearly a million people affected by floods which hit most parts of the country since July.

“South Sudan risks facing famine again if the funds are not secured within the next few days. The UN agencies and the government declared famine in mid-2017,” Beasley told reporters in Juba Thursday.

“We are now appealing to the donors that please, we cannot turn our back on the innocent families and children out there. Failure to raise the money we need during this crisis period very well could mean loss of lives,” he added.

According to United Nations 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 needed humanitarian assistance.

In November, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir declared a state of emergency in the flood-affected areas of the country.

Meanwhile, the South Sudan WFP country director, Matthew Hollingworth emphasized that there are very critical food insecurity issues in South Sudan with the malnutrition rate averaging up to 16%.

Last year, a report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine revealed that estimated 382,900 people have died as a result of the civil war in South Sudan.

(ST)