July 8, 2021 (NAIROBI) – As South Sudan marks its 10th independence anniversary on July 9, up to 7.2 million of the country’s population are on the brink of famine, an aid agency warned Friday.
- Internally displaced people are seen in Pibor January 12, 2012. (Reuters)
According to Save The Children, the number of people in grave danger of starvation has risen by 50% compared to the same season a decade ago, with figures released in 2012 showing that 40% of the population was experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity.
The agency said this situation will most likely deteriorate in coming months due to ongoing violence, high food prices, climatic shocks and barriers to humanitarian access, unless urgent actions are taken.
About 1.4 million children are already suffering from acute malnutrition, it noted.
“South Sudan is not just a story of conflict. It is a story of generations of deliberate displacement of civilians, destruction of livelihoods, and land occupation, compounded by climate shocks like unprecedented flooding and locust plagues, and a story of COVID-19 and its obliteration of already-vulnerable social infrastructure,” said Rama Hansraj, Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan.
The international aid agency is calling on the government of South Sudan to curb communal violence and fast track the implementation of the peace deal, to address some of the root causes of the hunger crisis and enable children to look towards a brighter future.
It further appealed to the various donor governments to fully fund the joint-agency Humanitarian Response Plan for South Sudan, and invest in social protection schemes and services for children.
“To truly put an end to hunger in South Sudan, the international community must address the root causes of the acute food insecurity, including finding a sustainable solution to the conflict, tackling global changing climate, and building more resilient communities,” it stated.
Operational in South Sudan since 1991, Save the Children has been working with and for children, their families and communities, providing children with access to education, healthcare and nutrition support, and families with food security and livelihoods assistance.