Africa

UN urgently needs $270M to avert famine in South Sudan

South Sudan risks another famine if funds not secured within next few days, WFP Executive Director says

Benjamin Takpiny   | 19.12.2019
UN urgently needs $270M to avert famine in South Sudan UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba, South Sudan in February, 2017. Handout/UNICEF/Gonzalez Farran - Anadolu Agency )

JUBA, South Sudan

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said Thursday it urgently needs at least $270 million to avert a looming famine in South Sudan as 5.5 million people face the risk of starvation in 2020.  

“I am here today because of my grave concern regarding the food security situation that has developed and compounded in terms of problems as result of the flooding,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley told reporters at a news conference in the South Sudan capital, Juba. “The flooding coupled with droughts, war and economic crisis is a perfect storm underway.”

Beasley said the WFP remains $270 million short of the $697 million budget required to preposition food quickly before the upcoming dry season that will enable it to reach 1 million people affected by recent floods which affected most of the country since July.

“South Sudan risks facing famine again if the funds are not secured within the next few days. The UN agencies and the government declared famine in mid-2017,” said Beasley.

“We are now appealing to the donors that please, we cannot turn our back on the innocent families and children out there. Failure to raise the money we need during this crisis period very well could mean loss of lives,” he stressed.  

Matthew Hollingworth, South Sudan WFP country director, said there are very critical food insecurity issues in South Sudan with the malnutrition rate already averaging 16%.

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