According to a report published by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), 59 per cent of the population of South Sudan (6.1 million people) currently face extreme hunger. This extreme hunger is often accompanied by acute malnutrition, which is attributed to severe food insecurity, poor access to health and nutrition services, high morbidity, extremely poor diets and poor sanitation and hygiene.
The latest UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) IPC report highlights that 47,000 people face the highest level of hunger in South Sudan, what the IPC classifies as “phase five” (IPC5), the most critical of the five phases. An additional 1.7 million people are at an “emergency level”, IPC4 phase, and over six million live in a “crisis” state of chronic food shortages, or IPC3.
Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan commented:
“We know that if we can reach and treat severely malnourished children, we save lives. More than 80 percent of children treated recover, which makes it even more urgent that we are able to access those who have suffered the most as a result of the fighting.”
To date, the FAO, has supported 1.4 million farmers with agricultural seeds and tools to help increase cereal production, which is essential to those who depend on their livestock for survival. UNICEF and its partners have admitted 147,421 children suffering from acute malnutrition in to various treatment programmes and the WTP has provided aid to over three million people with 30,000 tonnes of food and $2.9 million in cash-based support.
Pierre Vauthier, FAO Acting Representative in South Sudan, explains the relationship between conflict and food security in South Sudan:
“Assessment after assessment, we find that conflict is the main driver of this desperate situation, making it impossible for farmers to get back on their feet. We are reaching as many people as we can, in almost every county, but it is critical to end conflict and sustain peace to prevent an already severe food insecurity situation from deteriorating even further.”
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Photo Credit: UNICEF/Peter Martell