South Sudan Facing One of World’s Worst Famines

April 07, 2016 at 07:00 am | News

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

April 07, 2016 at 07:00 am | News

Children flock with containers to a field demarcated for food-drops at a village in South Sudan. (Photo: www.mgafrica.com)

The world’s youngest country, South Sudan now faces the world’s worst famine in more than a quarter of a century. Experts estimate that over 50,000 children could die of starvation. According to the IPC Global Partnership, a leading food security consortium, about 40,000 people in South Sudan are already living at level five, which is the worst possible level of starvation. However, the report doesn’t indicate whether the current situation in the war-torn nation should be declared famine, citing inaccessibility of critical information to back the declaration.

The country’s challenging environment, makes it hard for humanitarian organizations to carry out their work effectively, especially during heavy rains. Continued conflict in some of the affected areas threatens food security as farmers cannot grow their staple crops like sorghum.

Two years after South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 the country was engulfed in a civil war following disagreements between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president and now rebel leader Riek Machar.

The political disagreement led to violence in the streets of Juba, its capital city, as President Salva Kirr accused Riek Machar of planning a coup. The violence then spread to other parts of the country leaving hundreds of civilians dead and millions displaced.

A report published by World Food Program (WFP) states that over 2 million people in South Sudan have been displaced, most of whom have fled to neighboring nations. By 2015, the food agency had distributed over 190,000 metric tons of food to South Sudan.

It further estimates that over 2.5 million people are currently living without knowing where they will get their next meal and fears that the situation is likely to escalate.

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