Extreme levels of hunger in South Sudan as country marks eight years of independence

Hentet fra Norwegian Refugee Counsil ( NRC)  3.7.2019

The people of South Sudan are bracing themselves for what could be another catastrophic food crisis with almost seven million people facing extreme levels of hunger. As the country prepares to mark eight years of independence next week, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is calling on all parties to the conflict to make the most out of the extension to the peace agreement and work towards ending the country´s disturbing cycle of hunger and conflict.

People fought hard for independence in 2011 and now they are fighting hard to keep starvation at bay. Emergency measures must be taken to prevent the country from plunging back into a catastrophic food crisis to the levels we saw in 2017,” said Alexander Davey, Country Director for NRC in South Sudan.

Years of conflict, which saw millions of people uprooted from their homes, food crops destroyed and markets disrupted, has contributed to the man-made food crisis currently gripping the world´s youngest nation.

As the country prepares to celebrate its independence next Tuesday (July 9), almost seven million people, more than half the population, are facing acute levels of conflict-related hunger with 860,000 children likely to suffer from malnutrition. 

Up to 21,000 people living in counties; Cueibet (former Lakes State), Canal/Pigi (former Jonglei State) and Panyikang (former Upper Nile State) are at risk of famine according to the latestIPC figures. Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan by the UN during the last food crisis in 2017.

An estimated 1.9 million people are currently displaced in South Sudan (OCHA) with 2.3 million people living as refugees in neighbouring countries like Ethiopia and Uganda (UNHCR).

Davey added: “We are concerned by the number of displaced people living in affected areas with virtually no access to humanitarian assistance. While aid will ease suffering short-term, we are urging all parties to the conflict to make the most of the peace agreement extension and work tirelessly over the coming months for the people and for peace. South Sudan urgently needs an end to this persistent cycle of hunger and conflict.”

Facts & Figures:

  • An estimated 6.96 million South Sudanese will face acute levels of food insecurity or worse (IPC Phases 3, 4 and 5) by the end of July, 2019.
  • According to the May IPC analysis, an estimated 6.96 million people are estimated to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes through the July/August peak of the lean season in the presence of already planned humanitarian assistance. 
  • An estimated 21,000 people will likely face ´catastrophic´ lack of food access (IPC Phase 5, the highest level in the five-step classification). This also indicates famine risk.
  • About 1.82 million will face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and another 5.12 million people will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity. Compared to last January’s forecast for the period May – July 2019, 81,000 more people than originally projected are facing IPC Phase 3 or worse, particularly in the Jonglei, Lakes, Unity and Northern Bahr el Gazal states.  
  • Delayed rains, high food prices reduce access to foodThe ongoing lean season started early following record low stocks from the poor 2018 harvest and has been further extended by the delayed onset of 2019 seasonal rains.
  • High food prices caused by last year’s poor harvests, market disruptions due to insecurity, high transport costs and a depreciated currency are also contributing to the high levels of acute food insecurity. 
  • South Sudan declared its independence from the Sudan on July 9, 2011 after decades of war but shortly after in 2013, the country erupted into civil war.