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UN food agency needs over $526m as hunger emergency looms in South Sudan

October 3, 2023 at 2:08 pm

Internally displaced women wait for their food ration during a food distribution next to a World Food Programme (WFP) truck in Bentiu on February 7, 2023 [SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images]

The UN World Food Program (WFP) said, on Tuesday, that it needs over $526 million for hunger response in South Sudan as the “urgency is looming”, Anadolu Agency reports.

This year, the WFP received “less than half” of the funding that it needed, and the next year is “equally concerning”, the food agency’s South Sudan Director told a UN briefing in Geneva.

Basically, half the funding means half the food assistance, and in order to reach as many people as possible, we have reduced rations to 50 per cent, meaning people are getting less than 300 grams of food per day, and this includes those people arriving from Sudan

Mary-Ellen McGroarty said.

“Continuing in this manner means that we are unable to break the cycle of entrenched hunger and provide a way out for families facing extreme hunger,” McGroarty stressed. “We are barely pulling people back from the cliff edge of desperation.”

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The humanitarian situation on the Sudan-South Sudan border is at a “critical juncture”, she warned, adding that the “urgency is looming”.

According to recent data collected by the WFP, she said, 90 per cent of the families have gone multiple days without eating and are experiencing moderate to severe food insecurity. Meanwhile, one in five children is malnourished.

Almost 300,000 people have, so far, crossed from Sudan to South Sudan since the conflict began in April and still 1,000 people continue to arrive daily, she added.

“The families that we see crossing today are much, much more vulnerable and food insecure than those that arrived in the early weeks of the conflict,” she said and warned: “And it’s getting worse.”

Sudan has been mired by fighting between the Army, led by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces since April, in a conflict that has killed 5,000 people and displaced more than 5.2 million, according to UN figures.

Several cease-fire agreements brokered by Saudi Arabian and US mediators have failed to end the violence.

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