National, News

Over 7 million face acute food insecurity

By Kei Emmanuel Duku


More than 7.8 million out of 12.4 million South Sudanese, including another 2.9 million, who are in an emergency, are under acute food insecurity-report.

According to Global Network Against Food Crisis report, the number is expected to reduce slightly by 700,000 between April and July 2024, due to the first harvest of 2024 rainy season.

During the same period, an estimate of over 70,000 of South Sudanese and another 25,000 returnees will face food shortages.

Acute food insecurity is a situation in which populations face food deprivation that threatens their lives or livelihoods and requires urgent action to protect and save lives and livelihoods.

The Global Network Against Food Crisis noted that Akobo, Canal/Pigi, and Fangak, as well as Leer and Mayendit counties in Jonglei and Unity states, respectively, are some of the counties whose populations were affected by the floods and conflicts and bear the greatest risk of acute food insecurity.

Some of the factors contributing to the food crisis in South Sudan are primarily attributed to the inter-communal conflicts, especially in Jonglei and the Upper Nile region, disrupting the free flow of trade, the influx of refugees, and the return of South Sudanese as a result of the Sudan conflict that has resulted in border clashes.

Apart from the biting inflation in the country, the report also highlighted extreme weather patterns characterized by unreliable rainfall, sporadic dispersion, and intensity that have resulted in low productivity during 2023 across the country.

It is also estimated that about 2.4 million people were forcibly displaced in 2013 in Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Unity States, respectively, with about 2 million internally displaced persons and 4 million being refugees and asylum seekers.

Between June 2023 and July 2024, more than 1.5 million children below the age of 5 suffered from acute malnutrition, and the situation is expected to get worse as more than half of the counties continue to face an alarming malnutrition crisis.

Furthermore, it is also believed that out of the 12.4 million South Sudanese population, 0.9 million pregnant and breastfeeding women are also likely to suffer from acute malnutrition.

According to experts, malnutrition occurs when the body doesn’t get enough nutrients, and if untreated malnutrition can cause physical or mental disability.

In South Sudan, the report indicated that only 5 percent of children aged 6–23 months received a minimum acceptable diet, and a lack of food contributes to acute food insecurity in most countries.

The absence of improved health services in areas affected by conflict, floods, and poor access to clean drinking water and sanitation contributes to high cases of illness and malnutrition.

Worldwide, the 2024 Global Report on the Food Crisis highlighted that an estimated 282 million people face high levels of acute food insecurity across 59 countries affected by conflicts in 2023, out of which 64.2 million of the population is found in 8 counties in the East African region.

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