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Concerns mount over food insecurity in South Sudan
Action Against Hunger calls for urgent international action as malnutrition rates remain dire
London, 5 February, 2015
Action Against Hunger is calling for urgent international action as malnutrition rates remain dire in war-torn South Sudan.
With heightened tensions and upcoming elections this year, the international humanitarian community is concerned about the potential impact on an already vulnerable population and the risk of further violence and displacement. An estimated 2.5 million people are expected to face food insecurity between now and March 2015, as fighting continues to disrupt marketplaces and livestock management and threatens the ability of communities to plant or harvest food.
“The nutrition situation is so dire, and in such a large part of the country, that a large-scale, well-resourced intervention is necessary to avert disaster this year,” said Andrea Tamburini, of Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organisation. “We are at a key moment where we can lessen suffering by taking early preventative action and advocating an end to the conflict.”
Thanks to quick response and funding, and a brief respite in fighting, donors and humanitarians were able to prevent famine last year. But Mr Tamburini said donors must maintain their commitment this year. The UN estimates US$600 million is needed for life-saving assistance across South Sudan by February.
“Now is the time to amplify efforts,” he said. “We must act now to pre-position food and scale up response capacity. To break the cycle of hunger, we must ensure that food security assistance like seeds and tools are in place before the planting season in April and May. To break the cycle of violence, a political solution must be found.
“We all must work to ensure the protection of people in South Sudan and to ensure that humanitarian workers are not prevented from reaching people in need.”
Action Against Hunger has been in what is now South Sudan for over two decades, responding to high malnutrition rates, lack of access to clean water, and chronic problems related to families' access to food. But our presence in South Sudan today is more important than ever.
Today we are working to support South Sudanese communities affected by the violence, with teams providing emergency life-saving treatment to severely malnourished children as well as water and sanitation support in both communities and camps where families have fled to escape the violence.