News / Africa

WFP: South Sudan Pushed Toward Famine

Malnourishment resulting from ongoing crisis is leaving children more vulnerable to Cholera, South Sudan, June 2, 2014.
Malnourishment resulting from ongoing crisis is leaving children more vulnerable to Cholera, South Sudan, June 2, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The World Food Program warns fighting and lack of access to the displaced in South Sudan are pushing that country towards a hunger catastrophe. WFP says this humanitarian disaster still can be prevented, but time is running out.  

Before fighting erupted in mid-December between the government and rebels, 140,000 people in South Sudan were suffering from severe food shortages. Now, World Food Program spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs says that number stands at 1.3 million.

“WFP is concerned about the food security situation and about the possibility of the food catastrophe or even famine developing over the coming year.  But, we can prevent this if we act now…This disaster can be prevented.  This is what I would like to point out.  We can prevent, but it is absolutely critical to stop fighting," said Byrs.

But, that seems unlikely. A second truce enacted between the warring factions on May 9th broke down not long after it was signed.  

So, the best hope for preventing this food crisis from turning into famine is for aid agencies to get unimpeded access to people affected by conflict.  

Byrs says it is especially critical to deliver life-saving aid to people in isolated areas.  She says this is becoming increasingly difficult because the rainy season started earlier than usual this year.  This means aid agencies did not have enough time to pre-position relief supplies needed to help people through the coming difficult months.  
“Sixty percent of the road will be impassable in the next few weeks.  That is why the scaling up of our operation is vital and it is crucial to prevent the most vulnerable to slide into hunger," she said.

The situation is most dire in the conflict-affected states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.  WFP reports three-quarters of the population in Unity state is short of food, and that is predicted to rise to 85 percent in the next three months.  

Byrs says WFP will be increasing its use of airdrops and airlifts to bring food to these remote areas.  But, she notes the cost of this air operation is five times as expensive as that of transporting goods by road.

She says the agency also is ramping up its efforts to increase food deliveries by river.  She says a barge convoy is being loaded with 1,200 metric tons of food in South Sudan’s capital city Juba.  She says the barge will set sail in the coming days for the towns of Malakal and Melut with food destined for thousands of refugees and internally displaced people.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid