Wednesday February 21, 2018

Drought and Economic collapse might lead to Famine: Fleeing is the Only Option for People in South Sudan

The civil war that erupted two years ago has reduced the production of oil by about a third in the country

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Already starving Image Source:Henry Wilkins/Al Jazeera
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  • A region of South Sudan has recently entered “phase 4”, an “emergency” on the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) scale
  • The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan currently has a shortfall of $106m in its food distribution budget
  • 38,000 have left the region surrounding Kanjak to Sudan where prospects for families to feed themselves are said to be better

Kanjak, South Sudan- With thousands of people killed and almost two million displaced in a civil conflict that erupted in late 2013, South Sudan has disintegrated into chaos. Apart from violence that continues to strike this country, to make things worse, recent analysis of the situation says that the parts of the country are just weeks away from a famine.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal, a region of South Sudan close to the border with its neighbor Sudan is usually self-sufficient in food, but because of drought in parts of the country, and an economic collapse , it is unable to provide for itself this year, 2016.

According to the Aljazeera report, South Sudan has recently entered “phase 4”, an “emergency” on the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) scale. What it means is that even with any humanitarian assistance at least one in five households in the area have large food consumption gaps resulting in very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality or extreme loss of livelihood assets that will lead to food consumption gaps in the short term.

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Image Source :Henry Wilkins/Al Jazeera

South Sudan depends largely on imports. The sharp increases in the prices of staple foods were due to the depreciation of the South Sudanese pound. The families are reliant on buying food from the market where prices have risen sharply, while their livelihoods have rapidly declined.

The economy of South Sudan is largely dependent on oil exports as it has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest reserves. The civil war that erupted two years ago has reduced the production of oil by about a third in the country. It has also been  badly affected by plummeting oil prices internationally.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan currently has a shortfall of $106m in its food distribution budget. With no help underway, fleeing seems to be the only option.

38,000 have left the region surrounding Kanjak – known as Aweil East to Sudan, where prospects for families to feed themselves are said to be better. According to the WFP, since February about 7.6 percent of the population has left.

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In the past the UN has provided residents with sheets of corrugated steel, used as an alternative to the traditional thatched roofing.

Now, many of the houses lie empty with gaping holes where the roof once was.

“When people decide to leave the village, they roll up the sheets and sell them for a few pounds. Some houses even have mounds of sand piled outside, the graves of their former inhabitants. Malnutrition is the primary cause of death,” explains Chout to Al Jazeera.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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A rise in 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could cause droughts

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A rise in 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could cause droughts
A rise in 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could cause droughts. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 2, 2018: A rise of just 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could make over a quarter of the world’s land to become drier and more desert like, increasing the threat of widespread drought and wildfires, new research led by one of Indian origin has found.

The study showed that reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere to limit global warming under 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius would dramatically reduce the likelihood of significant aridification emerging in many parts of the world, the researchers said.

Aridity is a measure of the dryness of the land surface, obtained from combining precipitation and evaporation.

“Our research predicts that aridification would emerge over about 20-30 per cent of the world’s land surface by the time the global mean temperature change reaches 2 degrees Celsius,” said Manoj Joshi from the the University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences.

“But two thirds of the affected regions could avoid significant aridification if warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Joshi added.

For the findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the team examined projections from 27 global climate models to identify the areas of the world where aridity will substantially change when compared to the year-to-year variations they experience now, as global warming reaches 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The world has already warmed by one degree Celsius. As a result, drought severity has been increasing across the Mediterranean, southern Africa, and the eastern coast of Australia over the course of the 20th Century, while semi-arid areas of Mexico, Brazil, southern Africa and Australia have encountered desertification for some time as the world has warmed.

“Aridification is a serious threat because it can critically impact areas such as agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity. It can also lead to more droughts and wildfires – similar to those seen raging across California,” explained Chang-Eui Park from the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China. (IANS)