UN warns that ‘unprecedented’ numbers face severe hunger in South Sudan

ssudan

About 3.6 million people in South Sudan face secere food shortage, the highest levels ever experienced at harvest time, and there are fears that the crisis is likely to worsen when food from the current harvest runs out next year, the World Food Programme (WFP) has said.

In a report released on Friday, the WFP said that the country’s hunger levels have doubled since last year.

Nearly 60 percent of the population of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state is affected, 56 percent in Unity, and 47 percent in Western Bahr el Ghazal.

“The scale of food insecurity remains unprecedented in South Sudan, despite seasonal improvements that are typical of the harvest season,” WFP said.

The number facing severe hunger is expected to rise to 4.6 million between January and April next year, and increase even more from May to July unless aid is scaled up, it added.

“Food … insecurity is anticipated to further deteriorate … to the highest levels ever in the lean period, unless the humanitarian response is stepped up further to an unprecedented level,” the U.N. agency said.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his then deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup against his government. Machar refuted the allegations but went on to mobilize a rebel force to fight the government.

A peace deal was signed in 2015 but violations have been frequent.