Agriculture

South Sudan in the throes of food insecurity

The number of food-insecure people is expected to peak during the coming lean season, traditionally worst between April and July, when food availability is at its lowest

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016 | 12:19:00 PM

Crisis is looming over South Sudan as the country’s 2.8 million people (25 per cent of the population) are in urgent need of food aid, and at least 40,000 are on the brink of catastrophe, United Nations (UN) agencies warned on Monday.

The current situation is particularly worrisome as it shows an increase in hunger during the post-harvest period—a time when the country is traditionally food secure.

The number of food-insecure people is expected to peak during the coming lean season, traditionally worst between April and July, when food availability is at its lowest.

The UN agencies pointed out that the dry season, which is beginning, could bring additional hardship to the people facing the most severe levels of hunger.

Those displaced in conflict-affected Unity State, who have been living on fish and water lilies to survive, are running out of their only remaining sources of food as floods recede.

Livestock raiding has robbed many people of milk, which was their main means of survival during last year’s lean season.

“It is not only areas directly affected by conflict that are food insecure—some 200,000 people in Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap states have also seen their access to food deteriorate, owing to factors such as price inflation and market disruptions that are tied to the conflict,” Serge Tissot, acting Food and Agriculture Organization representative in South Sudan said.

“During the dry season, we must make a massive pre-positioning effort so that we can continue assisting people after roads become impassable once the rains come,” World Food Programme Country Director Joyce Luma said.

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