January 24, 2018 (JUBA) – At least 1.5 million South Sudanese could face famine while up to 20,000 of them are experiencing famine conditions, a United Nations humanitarian officials told the Security Council on Wednesday.
- People in conflict-affected areas of South Sudan collect food from WFP (WFP/eter Testuzza Photo)
“The next lean season, which begins in March, is likely to see food security worsen, and could see famine conditions spread to several new locations across the country,” said Ursula Mueller, the deputy humanitarian coordinator.
She said access challenges have continued to delay and interrupt the humanitarian response in South Sudan. In Unity state, Mueller said, truck drivers delivering humanitarian supplies by road from Juba passed through 66 checkpoints.
More than 5 million South Sudanese or approximately half of the country’s population are believed to be severely food insecure.
The anticipated food crisis is mainly attributed to the South Sudanese population’s inability to plant or harvest due to war that has displaced millions of people.
In December 2017, the UN office for coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) and the humanitarian community in South Sudan launched on an appeal for $1.7 billion to assist up to 6 million people affected by conflict, displacement and hunger.
Since the conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013, about 4 million people have reportedly been forced to flee their homes, including nearly 1.9 million people who have been internally displaced and over 2 million people who have fled as refugees to neighboring countries.
Last year alone, the world body and its partners reportedly reached over 5 million South Sudanese, providing assistance to people in critical need.