South Sudan on brink of famine as millions face food insecurity

The United Nations is sounding the alarm on a looming food crisis in South Sudan, with millions at risk of acute hunger and tens of thousands facing famine conditions.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimated 7.1 million people in the war-torn nation are projected to experience severe food insecurity between April and July 2024. 

This alarming figure includes a staggering 79,000 people at risk of famine, a situation classified as “Catastrophic” on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) scale. 

These individuals reside primarily in areas hit hard by climate shocks, economic turmoil, and ongoing conflict.

Despite gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan has yet to find lasting peace. 

Years of violence and instability continue to plague the world’s youngest nation, leaving millions in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 

This year alone,the UN estimates that a total of nine million South Sudanese require aid.

The situation is further complicated by the influx of refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Sudan. 

Since fighting erupted in April 2023, over 670,000 people have crossed the border into South Sudan, according to OCHA. 

Notably, 80% of these refugees are South Sudanese who had previously sought refuge in Sudan, creating a complex cycle of displacement.

This influx of refugees puts a significant strain on South Sudan’s already limited resources, particularly in border areas and destinations for displaced populations. 

To address the growing crisis, the UN has launched a $1.8 billion humanitarian response plan for South Sudan in 2024. 

However, the plan remains critically underfunded, with only 11% secured as of now.

The looming food crisis in South Sudan highlights the urgent need for coordinated international action. 

Increased funding for the UN’s humanitarian response plan is crucial to deliver life-saving aid and prevent a full-blown famine. 

Additionally,tackling the root causes of instability and conflict in South Sudan, as well as neighboring Sudan, is essential for long-term peace and food security in the region.

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