Almost two-thirds of S. Sudanese face food insecurity in coming months: UN
An estimated 7.7 million people in South Sudan, about 63 percent of the total population, are likely to face crisis or worse levels of food insecurity through July, UN Humanitarians said on Tuesday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, said 2.9 million people in South Sudan are likely to be just one step away from catastrophic levels of food insecurity during this period.
It said 87,000 people are likely to face catastrophic food insecurity, that’s phase 5 of the official IPC ranking, in parts of Jonglei in the Pibor administrative area, and parts of Lakes and Unity states. An immediate scale-up of humanitarian assistance from food to livelihood support is needed to save people’s lives and protect their livelihoods. The humanitarians said 5.3 million people received food, health, water and sanitation, education, livelihoods, nutrition assistance and other critical protection services last year.
South Sudan’s humanitarian response plan, which seeks 1.7 billion U.S. dollars to help almost 7 million people, is only 8 percent funded, said OCHA.The east-central part of the country has been suffering heavy flooding in the rainy season and dryer than usual in dry seasons, which experts say is a reflection of climate change. In addition, South Sudan has been suffering from inter-communal fighting, adding to the threat to food production. The UN peacekeeping mission in the country has stepped up patrols.
The mission is working closely with communities in Leer, Unity state, to ease tensions following a surge of inter-communal violence, said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “This includes disturbing reports of sexual violence, looting and destruction of property, with thousands of people potentially having fled their homes,” he told a regular press briefing. “Peacekeepers are protecting displaced families and working with local authorities to ensure their security, as well as access to clean water and basic health care.”
The spokesman said the South Sudanese army has also reportedly deployed to the area to restore order. Given the surge in conflict, worsening the already dire humanitarian situation, their presence remains critical. He said the UN mission reinforces the number of peacekeepers to increase assistance to displaced people, especially women and children. The mission is also looking into possible human rights violations.
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