Monday, July 7, 2014

Heavy rains, ongoing violence push South Sudan towards 'hunger catastrophe', warns UN agency

UN News Centre: Already working hard to get supplies to people in South Sudan cut off by flooded roads, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that the rains, as well as the ongoing fighting, are pushing the country towards a “hunger catastrophe”.

“Fighting has led to alarming food insecurity in areas isolated by conflict,” WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byers said today in Geneva, explaining that the agency is facing serious challenges in transporting food to “deep field” locations due to access and security concerns.

This has hampered WFP's annual pre-positioning exercise, in which it stocks up warehouses in areas that will become inaccessible during the rainy season. Heavy rains had made most of the roads in Unity State impassable, she added.

Moreover, Ms. Byrs said, WFP estimates that more than 4,600 metric tons of food has been lost through looting in several locations – enough to feed more than 275,000 people for a month. “[We] urge all parties to respect the neutrality of humanitarian agencies, and to protect the humanitarian supplies so badly needed to assist innocent civilians affected by the conflict,” she said.

Despite those immense challenges due to insecurity, she said the agency had dispatched more than 91,000 metric tons of food around the countrysince the start of 2014.

WFP is using a combination of airlifts and airdrops to reach people in remote areas of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. As the rainy season set in and road access is cut off to two-thirds of the country, the agency has launched a special operation requiring almost $17 million to provide 10 aircraft needed for food deliveries....

Locator map of South Sudan created by TUBS, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license

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