Almost two million people in South Sudan are on the brink of starvation and half the population will face extreme food insecurity between June and July, according to reports by the government and the United Nations released Wednesday. While there is some positive news, the worst affected regions have seen some respite thanks to the generous support of the global community, the scale of the need in South Sudan is colossal.
Famine is declared when three conditions are found in a single location: At least 20 per cent of the population faces extreme food shortages, at least 30 per cent of children under five years old suffer from acute malnutrition and people are dying at double the normal rate. In February, South Sudan declared two counties in Unity State to be in famine. The generous response to the famine has meant that the areas that were identified as experiencing famine have been able to partially recover. However, the overall picture of progress is dismal with increasing numbers of people facing starvation. Areas that were previously less food insecure have now become more so, and millions still struggle to get enough to eat.
The United Nations warns that while the label of ‘famine’ has been removed for now from South Sudan that overall conditions in the country are worsening:
“Even though we’ve taken it (famine) off the table, we have more people in Phase 4 (a state of emergency) than ever before,” said Joyce Luma, the World Food Programmes’ country director. “If we don’t assist this population, 1.7 million people will soon be in famine.”
All We Can’s Humanitarian Aid Manager Jason Snuggs said, “Humanitarian efforts have eased South Sudan’s famine, donations are making a difference and aid is getting through. The bad news is that the number of those facing acute hunger in the country has risen since February. We are continuing to respond and to do all we can to ease this catastrophic hunger that is affecting not only South Sudan but other countries in the region”.
The live-saving food aid and nutritional support that has been distributed to thousands because of generous donations to All We Can’s East Africa Famine Appeal is deeply valued by families in South Sudan and other countries facing famine. However, this desperate need continues.
Please continue to give all you can to The Methodist Church in Britain and All We Can joint East Africa Famine Appeal as many families across the region face an even greater risk of starvation.
Images: ACT Alliance/Paul Jeffrey