Harvest season provides meagre respite to South Sudan's hunger crisis
(7 months ago)
ROME and JUBA: The current harvest season in South Sudan will not end the hunger crisis as conflict persists in most of the country and hyperinflation puts food out of reach for many, according to the updated Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) released today by the Government of South Sudan, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, UN Children's Fund, the World Food Programme, and other humanitarian partners.
The number of people experiencing severe food insecurity across the country is likely to drop to 4.8 million for October to December, down from six million in June. However, the 4.8 million who are severely food insecure are 1.4 million more than at the same time last year, and much of this growth has been in the Emergency category (step 4 on the IPC's 5-step scale).
"The harvest season has not brought much relief to the millions of people in South Sudan who don't have enough food. The country's greenbelt has been ravaged by fighting, and finding a peaceful solution to this man-made tragedy should be the top priority or the situation will get even worse next year," said Serge Tissot, FAO's Representative in South Sudan.
The food security situation is projected to deteriorate at the start of 2018 and the 'hungry season' - when households typically run out of food before the next harvest - is forecast to start three months earlier than usual. Many people have few means of coping with the stresses of the lean season, and the situation is forecast to become increasingly fragile.
"A massive humanitarian response helped stop famine in parts of the country this year. But even in the current harvest period, millions of people need sustained assistance to survive," said Adnan Khan, WFP Representative in South Sudan. "It is chilling to see that in a worst-case scenario, similar conditions could appear in multiple places in the lean season in 2018."
The teams who conducted the analysis identified two counties, Wau and Ayod, where a total of 25,000 people are facing catastrophic conditions according to the IPC scale. Of greatest concern is Greater Baggari, a sub-area of former Wau, where at least 15 per cent of the population is facing famine-like conditions because insecurity has heavily constrained livelihood activities and humanitarian assistance.
There is an urgent need for a humanitarian corridor from Wau to Greater Baggari area to allow agencies to provide comprehensive assistance.