JUBA – Almost one-third of the severely hungry South Sudanese the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) planned to support this year will be left without humanitarian food assistance due to critical funding shortages, heightening the risk of starvation for 1.7 million people.

The suspension of aid comes at the worst possible time for the people of South Sudan as the country faces a year of unprecedented hunger. Over 60% of the population are grappling with severe hunger during the lean season, fueled by continuing conflict, severe flooding, localized drought and soaring food prices exacerbated by the crisis in Ukraine.

“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. 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,” said Adeyinka Badejo, acting country director of the U.N. World Food Programme in South Sudan.

“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,” said Badejo.

The U.N. World Food Programme 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 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.

More drastic reductions will be unavoidable, unless more funding is received, which will leave vulnerable people unable to meet their basic food needs and reverting to survival strategies such as skipping or reducing meals, selling assets, using child labor and child marriage.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s crisis response and resilience-building development programs are drastically underfunded this year. The U.N. World Food Programme requires $426 million dollars to reach 6 million food insecure people through 2022.

Notes for Editors: Food Security Situation in South Sudan

In 2022, food insecurity in South Sudan is alarmingly high. The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment warned that 7.74 million people will face severe acute hunger at the height of the lean season between June and August, while 1.4 million children will be acutely malnourished.

The U.N. World Food Programme is prioritizing its limited food assistance to reach 4.5 million people struggling with severe hunger across 52 counties in South Sudan, including 87,000 people in eight counties already experiencing catastrophic hunger and living in famine-like conditions.

A U.N. World Food Programme food ration includes cereals, beans, vegetable oil and salt.

This year, the U.N. World Food Programme plans to reach 6 million food-insecure people in South Sudan with food assistance, nutrition support, cash stipends and livelihoods opportunities to build the resilience of communities – prioritizing the most vulnerable and conflict-affected women, children and the elderly.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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JUBA – More than 70% of the South Sudanese population will struggle to survive the peak of the lean season this year as the country grapples with unprecedented levels of hunger caused by conflict, climate shocks, COVID-19 and rising costs, warned the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today.

While global attention remains fixated on Ukraine, a hidden hunger emergency is engulfing South Sudan where about 8.3 million people – including refugees – are set to face extreme hunger in the coming months. As the 2022 lean season peaks, food becomes scarce and provisions are depleted according to the latest findings published in the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview. Particularly at risk are tens of thousands of South Sudanese who are already severely hungry following successive and continuous shocks. They could starve without food assistance.

South Sudan forms part of a “ring of fire” encircling the globe where climate shocks, conflict, COVID-19 and rising costs are driving millions closer to starvation. The impact of the climate crisis and ongoing conflict have led to large scale displacement, livelihoods losses, the destruction of arable land and crops as well as rising food prices — threatening the survival of communities living in some of the most isolated areas in the States of Jonglei, Lakes, Unity and Warrap.

“The extent and depth of this crisis is unsettling. We’re seeing people across the country who have exhausted all their available options to make ends meet and now they are left with nothing,” said Adeyinka Badejo, deputy country director of the U.N. World Food Programme in South Sudan.

Turning the Tide on Hunger

While providing critical food and nutrition assistance to meet the immediate needs of populations at risk, the U.N. World Food Programme simultaneously implements resilience building activities to help these communities cope with sudden shocks without losing all their productive assets.

“Given the magnitude of this crisis, our resources only allow us to reach only some of those most in need with the bare minimum to survive, which is not nearly enough to allow communities to get back on their feet. The U.N. World Food Programme is working tirelessly not only to cater for these immediate needs, but also to support communities to restore their own resilience and be better prepared to face new shocks,” said Badejo.

In 2021, the U.N. World Food Programme reached 5.9 million people with food and nutrition assistance, including more than 730,000 people in South Sudan who benefited from livelihoods activities.

In Greater Jonglei and Unity States, where unprecedented floods and localized conflict prevented people from reaching their cultivated fields, the U.N. World Food Programme supported people with cash assistance to buy food and other basic needs, provided communities with tools to protect and maintain critical assets, and trained young people in various vocational activities, including post-harvest management.

To help communities prepare for the impact of floods, the U.N. World Food Programme built dykes in areas at risk such as Bor in Jonglei State, where constructing an 11-mile dyke enabled thousands of displaced families to return to their homes. Similarly, the U.N. World Food Programme began restoring a key roadway submerged following the devastating floods that hit Bentiu in Unity State, where many people remain displaced.

In areas not affected by floodwaters, the U.N. World Food Programme worked with community members to clear and cultivate more than 40,000 acres of land to grow food, thereby enabling smallholder farmers to be more self-reliant throughout the year.

“Investing in resilience is an important step to help communities find their way out of poverty and hunger. While we stand on their side to address their most immediate challenges, we must also work closely with the Government and other development partners to seek longer-term solutions to some of the chronic problems that South Sudan faces – addressing entrenched inequity and isolation and restoring conditions for peace and stability,” said Badejo.

Contributing to alleviate South Sudan’s hunger crisis in an integrated and sustainable way is a significant challenge. The U.N. World Food Programme faces a major funding shortfall of $526 million dollars for the next six months to cover its crisis response, resilience building and longer-term development programs in the country.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

 

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_Africa, @wfp_SouthSudan and @wfp_media

JUBA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up support for people impacted by the third consecutive year of record floods that are battering South Sudan. The inundation is threatening to reverse gains made in food security as floodwaters swallow up large swaths of farmland and pastures, destroy crops and drown precious livestock and entire villages.

More than 750,000 people 31 counties across eight states have been affected by the floods including 365,000 who have been displaced. In Unity State alone, local authorities indicate that almost 90 percent of the state is under water, leaving very few safe havens for displaced people.

“The climate emergency is very real in South Sudan, causing unspeakable suffering, destroying people’s livelihoods and pushing them deeper into poverty and hunger,” said Adeyinka Badejo, acting Country Director of the U.N. World Food Programme in South Sudan. “The U.N. World Food Programme is re-prioritizing and redirecting its resources to respond to this new crisis. We are delivering vital food and supplies by air to people in areas that have been cut off by floods.”

The U.N. World Food Programme is reaching 300,000 people which is 40 percent of those heavily impacted by recurring floods in South Sudan with food and nutrition assistance. Additionally, communities are being supported to adapt and recover from climate shocks through the construction of dykes to control floodwaters and protect farmlands and people, as well as repairing roads to connect people to local markets and essential services.

The scale of devastation has seriously impacted people’s livelihoods and food production, significantly jeopardizing their food security and nutrition with the harvest this year likely to be lower than last year. The catastrophic floods come on top of continuing conflict, economic crisis and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While scaling up its emergency assistance for the most vulnerable, the U.N. World Food Programme is also working with communities to create long-term solutions that help them prepare for, respond to and recover from climate shocks, such as building and repairing dykes to control floodwaters and roads to improve people’s access to basic services.

“In South Sudan, the U.N. World Food Programme works across all pathways of emergency relief and early recovery and development to create an enabling environment for the people of South Sudan and equip them with the tools to build a future for generations to come,” said Badejo.

Despite efforts to support community resilience to shocks, humanitarian needs in South Sudan continue to outpace resources and the U.N. World Food Programme is at risk of running out of funds to continue its vital emergency operations and livelihoods programs. For the next six months, the U.N. World Food Programme needs $568 million to maintain its operations.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @WFP_SouthSudan

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