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Authorities warn of future famine in Upper Nile State

Key figures in Upper Nile State have warned of potential waves of regional famine in coming months.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, the Director General of Upper Nile State Agricultural Ministry reported that communities in the state will face hunger following recent crop failure.

‘Between May and August of 2020, there were droughts. So, no one grew crops. But as it started raining, floods started coming from the River Nile and bushes through Jonglei. From September until now, the floodwaters continue to rise. Areas like Akoka, Baliet, Adong, and Agilaciel expect no harvests due to the floods,” explained John Ayual Monynak.

Referring specifically to the summer floods, Ayual noted that ‘this year, the harvest would have been better…80 percent of the arable lands have been submerged, and as we speak floodwaters continue advancing to the rest of the areas. In a place like Akoka, residents are fleeing the floods and for the little crop yields there, there is a competition between the locals and birds’.

Aerial photos of recent flooding in Upper Nile State, 2020.

James Majok, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission. Deputy Director for Upper Nile State, said the humanitarian situation in the region had drastically declines over the past months.

‘We expect no harvest due to the droughts and floods. Again, people are being displaced from the eastern Nuer areas like Nasser and Olang. From northern Jonglei, more displaced people have been arriving in Malakal and some are proceeding to Sudan.’

Majok appealed directly to the government in Juba for support.

These calls have been backed by the Secretary-General of the Upper Nile State government. Ajak Wer Lual called for urgent humanitarian intervention in the region to avoid a crisis.

In the past week, a report commissioned jointly by the government and the United Nations has projected that 7.24 million people across South Sudan could go hungry by 2021

following a year of natural disasters, conflicts and COVID-19.

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