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UN Sends Emergency Food Aid Teams to South Sudan

Thousands of people wait in the hot sun near the air drop zone in Leer, South Sudan, July 5, 2014.

The United Nations is sending emergency food aid to remote areas in South Sudan where it says "a hunger catastrophe" is in the making.

Teams from the U.N. Children's Fund and the World Food Program will go to Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, three states where the U.N. says up to 75 percent of people have trouble finding food.

The U.N. representative in South Sudan, Jonathan Veitch, said people in these areas are walking, sometimes for days, without anything to eat. He says by the time they reach a town, children are often so badly malnourished that nothing can be done to save them.

The emergency teams will deliver food by airdrops and airlifts. Teams on the ground will treat children suffering from malnutrition and provide water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.

Aid agencies have warned of a possible famine in war-torn South Sudan. Fighting between pro- and anti-government forces has raged since December, cutting off food supplies to some areas and preventing many people from planting crops.