The UN has today formally declared a famine in parts of South Sudan, the world’s newest country, and the situation is set to worsen as food stocks become depleted.
More than three years of conflict combined with the continued devaluation of the South Sudanese Pound, acute malnutrition, difficulties in transporting aid, and below average harvests, have brought about this scenario.
Donald Mavunduse, Tearfund’s head of Eastern and Southern Africa, says: ‘This is a desperate situation for South Sudan to be facing and we are worried that it is only going to get worse in the coming months with famine spreading more widely. Already, 4.9m people, more than 40 per cent of the population, are in need of urgent food, clean water and nutrition assistance. Inflation has rocketed to between 800 and 900%, so buying food has become impossible for ordinary people, and there is little sign of the conflict coming to an end.’
In Motot, Jonglei State, Tearfund is providing children and pregnant and lactating mothers with treatment for malnutrition, along with nutrition and hygiene education, whilst providing boreholes along with training in safe water use. In addition, Tearfund is providing food assistance to displaced people in the capital Juba.
Within South Sudan’s borders there are 1.89m displaced people, and a further 1.5m have crossed borders into Ethiopia and Uganda.
To interview Donald Mavunduse, Tearfund’s Head of East and Southern Africa, please call Sarah Greenwood on 07423 431417.
Notes to editors
- Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency and a member of the Disasters’ Emergency Committee www.tearfund.org
South Sudan Stats
- 4.9m people [more than 40 percent of South Sudan's population] are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. [Source: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update]
- There are an estimated 1.89 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) [Source: UN OCHA] 1.5 million refugees have crossed the border to Uganda and Ethiopia, with the potential for ethnic killing and famine. [Source: UN OCHA]
- 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. [Source: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update] Because of poor harvests, many households continue to rely primarily on fish and wild foods to survive.