The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that up to 1.7 million people are at risk of starvation in South Sudan due to funding shortages.
According to the United Nations entity, it urgently needs U.S.$426 million to reach six million food-insecure people over the next six months.
It is understood that over 60 percent of the country’s population are grappling with severe food insecurity due to continuing conflict, severe flooding, localised drought, and soaring food prices exacerbated by the crisis in Ukraine.
The hunger crisis in the country has reached alarming heights, with 7.74 million people estimated to face severe acute hunger at the peak of the lean season in the next two months, according to the global standard for measuring food security.
Available data also shows that 1.4 million children could be acutely malnourished if adequate funding is not made available.
‘We are extremely concerned about the impact of the funding cuts on children, women and men who will not have enough to eat during the lean season’, WFP’s Acting Country Director, Adeyinka Badejo, said in a statement.
‘These families have completely exhausted their coping strategies. They need immediate humanitarian assistance to put food on the table in the short term and to rebuild their livelihoods and resilience to cope with future shocks.
‘Humanitarian needs are far exceeding the funding we have received this year. If this continues, we will face bigger and more costly problems in the future, including increased mortality, malnutrition, stunting, and disease’.
WFP said it had exhausted all options before suspending food assistance, including halving rations in 2021, leaving families in need with less food to eat.
These latest reductions to assistance, according to WFP, will also impact 178,000 schoolchildren who will no longer receive daily school meals – a crucial safety net that helps keep South Sudanese children in school to learn and grow.
Photo source: WFP