UN: Famine looms in war-ravaged South Sudan, with millions at risk | News | DW | 30.06.2016
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


UN: Famine looms in war-ravaged South Sudan, with millions at risk

Nearly five million people in South Sudan are dependent on overseas food aid to survive, according to the UN. Civil war, ethnic cleansing, corruption and plunging oil prices have devastated the world's youngest country.

Watch video 02:10

Focus on farming in South Sudan

The rate of hunger in South Sudan is now at its highest level since the country descended into civil war at the end of 2013, the UN and South Sudanese government warned on Wednesday.

"The risk of famine cannot be ruled out," said Agriculture Minster Lam Akol told journalists in the capital, Juba.

UN aid agencies issued a joint statement, saying, "The deteriorating situation coincides with an unusually long and harsh annual lean season, when families have depleted their food stocks and new harvests are not expected until August. The level of food insecurity this year is unprecedented."

Clashes continue to flare in South Sudan, despite a peace deal reached in August last year. The conflict pitted President Salva Kiir against his former deputy, Riek Machar. Machar returned to the country in April as vice president, but widespread violence persists, with various militias uncontrolled by either Machar or President Salva Kiir.

Aid workers have managed to reach some of the hardest hit areas, but the demand for food is daunting.

"The level of food insecurity this year is unprecedented," the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN children's agency UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP) said in a joint statement.

"Up to 4.8 million people in South Sudan - well over one-third of the population - will be facing severe food shortages over the coming months," the statement added, "and the risk of a hunger catastrophe continues."

Famine looms

Conditions in some parts of the country fall into the most severe category, "catastrophe" or "phase five." Famine is declared when devastating conditions apply to 20 percent of the population - a technical threshold.

More than 100,000 children have been treated for severe malnutrition this year, a 40 percent increase over last year, and a 150 percent increase since 2014, according to the UNICEF chief in South Sudan, Mahimbo Mdoe.

"The levels of malnutrition among children continue to be truly alarming," Mdoe said.

The country is also plagued by run-away inflation as a result of the war ,which caused production to plunge, as well as corruption and low oil prices.

Year-on-year inflation stood at 295 percent in May.

The war has killed tens of thousands and forced two million to flee their homes.

All sides have been accused of carrying out ethnic massacres, recruiting and killing children and carrying out widespread rape.

The crisis situation in the country has prompted the government to cancel plans to celebrate the country's 5-year anniversary on July 9.

bik/jr (AFP, Reuters)

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic