The situation in the world’s youngest country, which gained independence six years ago this Sunday, is unprecedented. The food crisis is worsening with over six million people now struggling to find enough food to survive as they flee from conflict. That is the highest number ever recorded for South Sudan.
While the end of famine is due in large part to increases in food aid and a swift humanitarian response from agencies like Concern, it’s also likely that many people migrated to areas where it was easier to access assistance. This has had the effect of dispersing the levels of need, rather than truly alleviating them.
Much of the population living in South Sudan’s Unity and Greater Jonglei states continues to face crisis and emergency levels of hunger and some 45,000 people are experiencing catastrophic conditions.
The devastating food crisis is largely the result of the country’s ongoing conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people, destroyed the economy, and forced more than 3.5 million to flee their homes. As the conflict rages on, more areas are becoming inaccessible and the humanitarian situation is worsening. Fiona McLysaght warns, “If the war continues, the food and nutrition situation is likely to deteriorate further.”
Remarking on the gravity of the situation, Concern’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Carol Morgan, said: “We urgently need a ceasefire and a lasting peace so that we can get safe access to the millions of people who desperately need assistance.”