Some three agencies of the United Nations (UN) have warned that almost 5 million people urgently need food, agriculture and nutrition assistance in the Southern Sudan city of Juba, reports NaijaAgroNet.
These agencies told NaijaAgroNet that the war and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine was declared on Monday, just as a further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine.
The trio agencies, namely the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) equally, warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger. If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated.
The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people - more than 40 percent of South Sudan's population - are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.
In addition, the agencies said there is need for humanitarian access, maintaining that unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe.
As said by the UN agencies urged, further spread of famine could only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the most vulnerable.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that famine is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country, and formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger.
“The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted more than three years ago,” UN said.
For FAO Representative in South Sudan Serge Tissot, famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and the worst fears have been realized, as many families have exhausted every means they have to survive.
"The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They've lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch," Tissot said.
UN further described malnutrition as a major public health emergency, exacerbated by the widespread fighting, displacement, poor access to health services and low coverage of sanitation facilities.
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