6.5 million people in South Sudan to suffer acute food insecurity
Three United Nations agencies warned that some 6.5 million people in South Sudan – more than half of the population – could be in acute food insecurity at the height of this hunger season (May-July).
The situation is particularly worrying in the areas hardest hit by the 2019 floods, where food security has deteriorated significantly since last June, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released by the Government of South Sudan, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Particularly at risk are 20,000 people who from February through April will be suffering from the most extreme levels of hunger (“catastrophe” level of food insecurity or IPC 5) in Akobo, Duk and Ayod counties that were hit by heavy rains last year, and need urgent and sustained humanitarian support.
Hunger is projected to get progressively worse between now and July, mainly in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap and Northern Bar el-Ghazal, with over 1.7 million people facing an “emergency” level of food insecurity (IPC Phase 4) due to the impacts of devastating floods and low levels of food production.
33 counties will also reach an “emergency” level of food insecurity during the hunger season, up from 15 in January.
Overall, in January, 5.3 million South Sudanese were already struggling to feed themselves, or were in “crisis” or worse (IPC Phase 3 and above) levels of food insecurity.
“Despite some seasonal improvements in food production, the number of hungry people remains dangerously high, and keeps rising. On top of that, we are now faced with Desert Locust swarms that could make this even worse. It is important that we maintain and scale up our support to the people of South Sudan so they can resume or improve their livelihoods and food production, and boost the government’s capacity to respond to the locust outbreak,” said Meshack Malo, FAO Representative in South Sudan.
Hunger is expected to deepen as of February due mainly to depleted food stocks and high food prices. Overall, the cumulative effects of flooding and related population displacement, localized insecurity, economic crisis, low crop production and prolonged years of asset depletion continue to keep people hungry.