Food Security Team Warns of Food Crisis in South Sudan

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Tens of thousands of people could be facing a food crisis in South Sudan, according to food security experts in the country.

The team revealed to Reuters that a “widespread catastrophe” could be headed to South Sudan in the early months next of year. People surviving on nothing more than water lilies and swamp fish are in danger of being left without any food at all once the dry season begins in January, according to the team.

 

40,000 facing starvation

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) estimates that 40,000 people in South Sudan are facing starvation and the risk of famine. The same team estimated a figure of 30,000 last month, but the situation now looks far worse than originally feared.

The team also says a further 830,000 are in an emergency situation and another 3.1 million in “crisis” state. The IPC’s four-day visit to South Sudan didn’t discover any existing cases of famine in the country, but the team was unable to access more remote regions due to ongoing conflict.

 

The impact of conflict

South Sudan has been in a state of civil war since December 2013 and violence in the country is having a serious impact on the health and security of its people. Fighting has killed thousands of head of cattle and other livestock, destroyed markets and crops, and displaced more than 200,000 people.

Thousands of people who could enjoy three or four balanced meals a day have been reduced to a single meal of water lilies and swamp fish. The oncoming dry season could bring that food supply to an end, though, and growing violence in the country makes it difficult for food aid to reach those who need it most.

A peace deal was signed between warring sides in the nation earlier this year, but so far has done nothing to stop violence in the country.

 

Featured image:

2011 Horn of Africa famine Oxfam 01” by Oxfam East Africa – http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfameastafrica/5758386784/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.