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'Absolute Despair': 1.6 Mln Kids in South Sudan Risk Starvation, UN Agency Warns

© AP Photo / Jerome DelayA girl eats at a school in Dollow, Somalia, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.
A girl eats at a school in Dollow, Somalia, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 07.11.2023
The number of undernourished people in Africa is rising, according to the World Health Organization. South Sudan is also affected by this problem, with more than 7 million people expecting to face acute food insecurity in 2024, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
More than 1.6 million children risk not getting enough nutrition in 2024 in South Sudan, the WFP cautioned on Monday.
The current food crisis is also aggravated by floods caused by climate change. Furthermore, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees's data shows that more than 300,000 returnees have crossed the border from the neighboring Sudan since the conflict there erupted almost seven months ago.

“We’re seeing an extremely concerning rise in malnutrition, which is a direct result of living in overcrowded and waterlogged conditions. The spread of waterborne diseases unravels any work humanitarian agencies do in preventing and treating malnutrition and it is young children who are suffering the impact most severely,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative to South Sudan.

Rubkona county, located in the north of the country, is predicted to be on the verge of starvation. "Severe economic shocks" that have caused prices for basic food products to soar by 120% since April last year along with floodwaters that "have permanently submerged entire communities" are the primal causes of this disaster, the WFP stated.

"This is the reality of living on the frontline of the climate crisis," the representative concluded.

An unidentified women sells fresh vegetables in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, May, 24 2005.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 28.10.2023
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In early October, the WFP addressed the issue, stating that the famine is worsened by over 220,000 returnees who have crossed the border from Sudan since the conflict erupted there over six months ago. Furthermore, in 2023, the organization only managed to provide half of the necessary rations due to funding shortages, with next year's prospects equally alarming.
Similarly, Sudan, South Sudan's neighboring country, is currently facing an internal conflict, causing its residents, particularly children, to experience food crises and other hardships, as reported by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

"Sudan is now the largest child displacement crisis in the world, with a recorded 3 million children fleeing widespread violence in search of safety, food, shelter and health care—most within Sudan—while hundreds of thousands are sheltering in sprawling make-shift camps in neighboring countries," UNICEF stated.

The WFP "implores" the global community not only to support the Sudanese in their attempt to "adapt farming practices, introduce smart agriculture," but also to invest "in a peace building program" and to improve "infrastructure so communities can withstand" the famine.
McGroarty also reminded of "successful cases in South Sudan that became possible thanks to proper support."