South Sudan on Verge of Catastrophic Famine, Says IPC
South Sudan is on the verge of a catastrophic famine, with 30,000 already classified as being in a food catastrophe, according to the IPC.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) has warned the country could face famine by the end of the year, as conflict in the region makes food security increasingly fragile.
Famine a few months away
The IPC, which includes the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Programme (WFP), says famine in South Sudan could be no more than a few months away.
“There is a great concern that famine may exist in the coming months but it may not be possible to validate it at that time due to lack of evidence as the result of limited access to the affected areas and populations,” the organisation said.
Some displaced families are already surviving on one meal of fish and water lilies per day it has been revealed.
Oil rich, food poor
Oil rich South Sudan became the world’s newest country in 2011 when it split from a unified Sudan. Civil war has been rife in the country over the last couple of years and – despite a recent peace deal – violence between the state and opposition groups is still widespread.
Families living in conflict zones have been amongst the hardest hit by a growing food crisis, as access for aid becomes increasingly difficult. However, families outside of conflict zones have also suffered unmanageable rates of inflation, including food and fuel price hikes.
In response to warnings from the IPC, South Sudan government agriculture minister Beda Machar has denied the existence of famine in the country and warned the media against using such “irresponsible” words.
“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.