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South Sudan: UN alarms at worsening hunger caused by conflict, floods and Covid-19

NEW YORK , December 18 , 2020 / PRN Africa / – High levels of hunger are due to insecurity, the effects of Covid-19, the economic crisis and the impact of flooding on livelihoods, according to the food security report. Humanitarian aid is needed to save lives and prevent a total collapse of livelihoods in hard-to-reach areas.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP) are stepping up their intervention, together with other organizations in ‘humanitarian aid.

“We call on all parties to end the violence and ensure safe humanitarian access to prevent an already dire situation from turning into a real disaster,” said the FAO Representative in South Sudan, Meshack Malo .

These children need urgent treatment to prevent them from dying – Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan

“We are extremely concerned about the increasing number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. These children need urgent treatment to prevent them from dying, ”said Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.

“The data leaves no doubt about the urgency for the government, the donor community and humanitarian actors to join hands and ensure that all these children receive the treatment they need,” he said. he adds.

At the same time, he said, partners should invest more in actions to prevent children from suffering from malnutrition.

“WFP is extremely concerned about the growing number of people who are suffering from a lack of sufficient food and nutrition, intensifying conflicts, unprecedented flooding and rising food prices,” said Makena. Walker , Deputy Director of the World Food Program in the country.

“The coming year will be extremely difficult, but we are determined to do everything in our power to reach more people over longer periods of time,” he added.

Extreme hunger in parts of Pibor County

According to figures in the report released today, between October and November, 6.5 million people in South Sudan face severe food insecurity and need emergency assistance. This number is expected to rise to 7.24 million between April and July 2021.

The document released today follows two independent reports released last week by the IPC’s Global Support Unit, which indicated that tens of thousands of people are likely to face famine conditions in the county of Pibor.

In this situation, many families experience high levels of acute malnutrition and even mortality. In five other counties (Akobo, Aweil South, Tonj East, Tonj North and Tonj South), some communities are facing catastrophic conditions, according to the independent analysis.

About 1.4 million children aged 6 months to 5 years are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021 and will need life-saving treatment, according to today’s report. This includes 313,000 children with severe acute malnutrition and over one million children with moderate acute malnutrition. At the same time, 483,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women suffer from acute malnutrition and need treatment.

A market in Pibor, South Sudan UN Photo / Isaac Billy

A market in Pibor, South Sudan.

Emergency response

WFP has already started to expand its life-saving food and nutrition assistance to areas of critical food insecurity in Pibor County as well as other areas of concern, extending its humanitarian response beyond the usual lean season and increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help.

In the past two months, WFP has extended its food aid to nearly 80,000 people in Pibor County. Meanwhile, in eastern Akobo, more than 40,000 people are currently receiving food assistance.

WFP will continue to scale up its emergency food response by working with partners to strengthen community resilience and development. In total, WFP provided food assistance to five million people in need in South Sudan in 2020.

For its part, UNICEF will further scale up its interventions by supporting therapeutic treatment and stabilization centers in the most affected counties in order to protect and save children’s lives.

This year, UNICEF has already treated 170,000 children with severe acute malnutrition, with a cure rate of 94%. There is now an urgent need to expand treatment services for severe acute malnutrition, including in insecure areas.

In addition, UNICEF will continue to tackle the underlying causes of malnutrition, such as malaria and diarrheal diseases due to lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and invest in prevention. malnutrition by promoting breastfeeding and good feeding practices for young children.

Finally, the FAO intends to help agricultural and agro-pastoral communities as a priority to increase their production and preserve their means of subsistence.

To date, in 2020, more than 100,000 farming families have received assistance to grow their own food from seed, and more than 5 million animals have been vaccinated and treated to help 164,000 households. FAO also distributed 800 tonnes of emergency food for essential animal stocks, especially in areas affected by the floods.

SOURCE UN News Center

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