Starvation hits S. Sudan as employees battle slim salary

By Bida Elly David

South Sudan is currently battling high rate of starvation with two third of the population struggling to meet their demands with less disposable income earned from civil servant salaries that always never come in time.

In a statement seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, John Akec the vice chancellor of the University of Juba who also an economist said that two third of South Sudan’s population are going to suffer severe starvation  quoting the recent report released by UNICEF.

Akec in his analysis of the UNICEF report pointed out that some parts of states across the Country are currently battling shortage of food and water while the Country through the political leadership is battling another hardship to implement the revitalized that has undetermined destiny.

He further warned the leadership of the Country against this devastating situation noting that if quick mechanisms are not done to rescue the Country from this tragedy, the Country will face the same hunger tragedy in Bahr-el-Ghazal that transpired in 1998 that led to mortality of infants.

“I fear that the horrific scenes of 1998 hunger in Bahr-el-Ghazal may be played on our TV screens by May and June 2023. According to UNICEF, 2/3 of South Sudan’s population is going to face hunger. Right now the situation borders mass starvation in large parts of our Country,” Akec stated

Prof. Akec said the on-going starvation across the Country has impacted the rate of turn-up to education since majority of young people have jumped into streets to struggle for living.

University of juba VC stressed the looming hunger is most likely to increase the rate of insecurity as people will be forced to violently meet their demand adding that cases of mortality will most likely be experienced.

Akec suggested that government should immediately declare state of emergency such that humanitarian assistance or support from people or organizations of good will extends their support in rescue of citizens in the current situation.

“The government must declare an emergency and provide food relief the sooner the better before they witness their own people dying and facing medical issues,” he reiterated.

Speaking to No.1Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, John Aggrey a civil servant serving in one the public institutions said that due to the high cost of living in Juba, he decided to transfer his family to his village on that account that his salary can’t meet their needs.

“I work for the government earning 8,000 SSP and up to now, we have not received salaries based on the new pay roll scale and things have shot high in the market. To avoid death, I have decided to send my wife and kids to the village because it is a bit cheaper,” he said

John said that he did this to ensure that his children and wife are set free from total starvation and medical issues that may arise.

 Last year, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that over 7.76 million people will be faced by severe acute food insecurity during the April-July 2023 lean season. Including a projected 2.9 million on the brink of starvation (IPC Phase 4) and another 43,000 who are expected to be living in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) acute food insecurity. There will be 47 counties with the majority of the population in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the 2023 lean season.

In Jonglei and Unity states, 74 and 77 per cent of their populations, respectively, are likely to be in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or above, with pockets of populations experiencing IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe) acute food insecurity for the period of April to July 2023.

Meanwhile, Eastern Equatoria in the southeast of the country has seen the most significant deterioration in food security across South Sudan’s counties impacted by the Horn of Africa drought. Dry conditions have taken hold across the greater Kapoeta region and decimated livelihoods as crops and cattle perish.

These IPC numbers are based on the assumption that people will continue to receive humanitarian food assistance through the 2023 lean season. Without this food assistance, the figures would be significantly worse. It should also be noted that the county of Panyikang in Upper Nile State, an area with historically high levels of food insecurity, could not be surveyed due to insecurity.

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