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South Sudan at high risk of famine, UN reports

Two United Nations agencies have warned that South Sudan is at a high risk of famine unless urgent action is taken in the next three months.

Along with Burkina Faso, northeastern Nigeria and Yemen, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) along with he UN World Food Programme (WFO) have warned that South Sudan’s humanitarian situation placed it in a precarious position.

In their joint report titled “Early Warning Analysis of Acute Food Insecurity Hotspots”, both bodies describe a lethal combination of conflict, economic decline, climate extremes and COVID-19 in creating unprecedented levels of food insecurity.

It’s noted that parts of the population in areas of high concern are already experiencing early stages of famine.

The report comes at a time when world food insecurity is at a record high. Another 16 countries are reportedly at high risk of acute hunger.

A timeline of 3 to 6 months was given by the agencies as the period in which action must be taken to avoid a major food emergency. The FAO’s Director of Emergencies, Dominique Burgeon, has described the report as a clear call to action.

“We are deeply concerned about the combined impact of several crises which are eroding people’s ability to produce and access food, leaving them more and more at risk of the most extreme hunger,” Burgeon said.

Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in 2017. Fortunately, this was averted in 2018 due to the efforts of humanitarian groups.

In 2020, unmatched levels of flooding in Jonglei State has affected approximately 800,000 people since July. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates over 360,000 have been displaced from their homes.

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