7.8 million hungry in South Sudan: families fractured by food scarcity and conflict

Some 40 percent of people in South Sudan are expected to be severely hungry by the end of July, a figure higher than ever before projected, according to the latest food analysis report for the African country.
 
In response, Oxfam South Sudan Country Director, Zlatko Gegic said: “A frightening number of people in South Sudan are already severely hungry and 800,000 more are expected to join them as fighting prevents many from getting the help they urgently need. 
 
“Fear and fighting are forcing people from their homes, preventing them from planting food crops and feeding their families. Many are missing meals and are being forced to sell their limited assets for food. 
 
“The people of South Sudan desperately need an immediate end to this war so that they can get food and other life-saving assistance. We strongly appeal to all parties to the conflict to allow people to safely reach humanitarian assistance. 
 
"South Sudan is spiralling into an economic free fall and people are struggling with skyrocketing food prices and an ever-rising cost of living. The only way to address the economic crisis is to end the war, ensure long lasting peace and a start to rebuild the economy. 
 
"Humanitarian aid is working – the report shows that if not for humanitarian assistance, fifteen locations of the country would have been classified as being in an ‘emergency’ food situation. However, fighting and the coming rains will make it even harder for people to access life-saving assistance, further worsening an already dire food crisis,” Mr Gegic said, adding that the timely release of the report was crucial for programming and planning. 
 
“The UN Appeal for the South Sudan response is currently just 35 percent funded. Donors should urgently increase funding and ensure that money is quickly distributed to enable humanitarian actors to save thousands of lives.” 
 
Notes to editors: 

Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) report findings:

  • Approximately two-thirds of the population are now food insecure:  some 7.8 million people are in Phases 2, 3 and 4 of food insecurity. 
  • 3.8 million people are currently severely hungry, expected to increase to 4.6 million by the end of July, a number bigger than ever projected, affecting 40% of the population. 
  • 800,000 people are in emergency levels of hunger, facing extreme and dangerous food shortages. The analysis was undertaken before the recent escalation of the war, so it is expected that for thousands of people in South Sudan, the outlook is now even worse. 
  • Malnutrition levels have skyrocketed with children under the age of five years, pregnant and lactating mothers being the most affected, susceptible to disease and even death.  80% of counties in Greater Upper Nile, Warrap, and Northern Bahr El Ghazal states are at a critical level of malnutrition. 
  • The number of severely hungry people is expected to reduce to 2.8 million by September after the first main harvest of the season. 
  • Most people are receiving some form of humanitarian food assistance. 
  • The traditional ‘lean season’ – a time when people rely on stocks - began two months early in some of the worst-off areas. 
  • Fifteen locations of the country would be classified as Phase 4 or Emergency food insecurity if not for humanitarian assistance. These specific areas are in Rubkona, Guit, Koch, Mayendit, Panyijar, Akobo, Uror, Ayod, Twic East, Duk and Minkaman both with internally displaced persons, and Protection of Civilian (POC) sites in Bentiu, Malakal, Bor and Juba. 
  • A report released by FAO and WFP showed an encouraging 17 percent increase in net cereal production in 2014. Gains in less conflict-affected areas must be protected. 
  • Funding for longer term development programmes in less conflict-affected parts of the country needs to be maintained to build resilience and protect improvements that have been made there.
Contact information: 

Faith Kasina, in Juba on +211 (0) 955 477 540

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.

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