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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs