Nearly eight million at risk of starvation in South Sudan

AFP - TONY KARUMBA

Three United Nations agencies say up to eight million people in South Sudan could face severe food shortages between now and next year's harvests as a result of floods, drought and conflict.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UN Children's Fund Unicef and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said Thursday the shortages between April and July may be worse than what the country suffered at the height of a civil war between 2013 and 2016.

The conflict ended in 2018, leaving a death toll of nearly 400,000 people.

"The decline in food security and high prevalence of malnutrition is linked to a combination of conflict, poor macroeconomic conditions, extreme climate events and spiralling costs of food and fuel," the agencies said in a joint statement.

"At the same time, there has been a decline in funding for humanitarian programmes despite the steady rise in humanitarian needs."

Spike in food prices

A surge in global food prices triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine – a major grain exporter – has left humanitarian agencies with less cash to spend.

In June, the WFP said it was forced to suspend some food aid to South Sudan just as it was facing its hungriest year since independence.

In August, the UN agencies estimated that 7.7 million people suffered severe food shortages in the country.

South Sudan erupted into civil war shortly after declaring independence from Sudan in 2011.

"South Sudan is on the frontlines of the climate crisis and day in, day out families are losing their homes, cattle, fields and hope to extreme weather.


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