The UN and the government of South Sudan announced that more than 7.7 million citizens, or about 63 percent of the population of the country where violence is escalating, will face a food crisis by next July.
The number witnessed an increase of 7% compared to the same period last year (from April to July), which coincides with the dry season.
According to the joint report submitted to the press, climatic shocks (floods and droughts) and population displacement contribute to exacerbating food insecurity, as well as armed clashes in parts of the country.
“The status quo in South Sudan will continue unless we start ensuring peace at the local level,” said Sarah Bisulo Nyanti, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Juba.
‘ Peace is Needed’
“Until the conflict is resolved, we will continue to see these numbers, because it means that people do not have safe access to their land to farm,” said Adinka Bajo, Acting Director of the World Food Program (WFP)in South Sudan.
“We call on the country’s leaders to move towards peace,” she added.
Clashes renewed on Friday in Unity State in the north of the country between the armed forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to his deputy, Riek Machar.
The clashes came less than a week after the two leaders agreed to work to preserve peace and establish a unified command of the armed forces, as stipulated in the peace agreement concluded in 2018 to end five years of the bloody civil war.
The report presented on Saturday is based on the “Integrated Phase Classification of Food Security” index, which includes 5 levels of severity: minimal, stress, crisis, emergency, and famine.
According to the report, 80% of the population suffering from a food crisis resides in the states of Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, and Eastern Equatoria.
In these areas, about 55,000 people were considered to be in a state of “disaster or famine” between February and March.