Famine could hit 5.5M people in S.Sudan in early 2020

South Sudan survived famine in 2017 only through concerted large-scale humanitarian response, says UN report

Famine could hit 5.5M people in S.Sudan in early 2020 Refugees are seen at Gumbo IDP refugee camp in Gumbo village of Juba, South Sudan in October, 2016


Roughly 5.5 million people in South Sudan are expected to “be going hungry” early next year, due to drought, destruction by floods, and an “uncertain political future,” the UN warned in a report on Thursday.

"With all the catastrophes around the world, the last thing we need is another,” World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley was quoted as saying in the report.

“We know the problems that we’ve been having in South Sudan, but the rains and the floods have led to a national disaster and are much worse than anyone could have anticipated,” he added.

Beasley even said he fears South Sudan will face a famine, calling for immediate support in order to rescue the people of the world’s newest-born state.

“In fact, if we don't get funding in the next few weeks and months, we are literally talking about famine. We need support, we need help and we need it now,” he said.

South Sudan, according to the WFP report, survived famine four months in 2017 only through “a concerted large-scale humanitarian response.”

Now experts “say the country’s food security outlook has never been so dire,” said the report.

Roughly 1 million people have directly suffered flooding which “destroyed 73,000 metric tons of potential harvests and wiped out tens of thousands of cattle and goats on which people depend for survival,” according to the report.

The WFP expressed the urgent need for $100 million in the next month in order to “buy and pre-position food” before the rainy season expected in May 2020, and amid continued political turmoil over the country's future.

South Sudan slid into crisis when President Kiir sacked Riek Machar as vice president in December 2013 on suspicion of plotting a coup, followed by a protracted civil war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands and forced 4 million people to flee their homes.

A peace deal between the two, expected this fall, has so far been elusive.

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