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Amid South Sudan’s War, Miss World Pageant Carries On

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In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, the winner of Miss World South Sudan 2017, Arual Longar, poses for a portrait at a shelter for street children in Juba, South Sudan. VOA

Amid the ethnic violence, famine and mass displacement in South Sudan’s war, a Miss World pageant carries on in one of the world’s most devastated countries.

Dozens of young women are using the international beauty pageants to advocate for peace at home and abroad. Contestants call the pageant a way to help others and change global perceptions.

ALSO READ: South Sudan Artists Protest against Civil War with Peace Campaign, Pop-up Street Performances and Murals

South Sudan's war
“They think we’re just a war-torn country and then they see our girls,” one former supermodel says. Pixabay

 

Women and girls have been targets of horrific violence in South Sudan’s war. For the vast majority of people in the deeply impoverished East African country, the annual beauty pageants are unknown or simply a dream.

But organizers are determined to deliver on the theme “beauty with a purpose.” (VOA)

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UN Warns Millions in South Sudan to Face Acute Shortage of Food in Coming Weeks

The United Nations estimates nearly 7 million South Sudanese, or 61 percent of the population, will face acute levels of food insecurity in about six weeks' time

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south sudan, acute hunger
A refugee from South Sudan transports food she received from the World Food Program (WFP) in Palorinya settlement camp for distribution, in Moyo district northern Uganda, Oct. 26, 2017. VOA

U.N. agencies warn millions of people in South Sudan will face acute shortages of food by the end of July, with tens of thousands experiencing famine-like conditions. A new report released Friday by the U.N.’s World Food Program, Food and Agriculture Organization and UNICEF, along with the government of South Sudan, assesses the food situation in the world’s youngest country.

Food is always in short supply during South Sudan’s lean season. But, this year, the situation is worse than usual because of a much-delayed rainfall on top of an economic crisis and population displacement due to conflict.

south sudan, hunger
The agency currently is providing food for 2.77 million people. Pixabay

The United Nations estimates nearly 7 million South Sudanese, or 61 percent of the population, will face acute levels of food insecurity in about six weeks’ time.

World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel tells VOA the crisis will be especially dire for thousands of people living in inaccessible parts of former Jonglei, Lakes, and Upper Nile states.

“Twenty-one thousand people in the country are in a very catastrophic situation.  They need very urgently access to that food,” said Verhoosel. “We know that urgent food assistance is needed in most of the country, especially because of the conflict and because of the season. And, that is at the end of July that we will have a very difficult time and most of the people will need that food assistance.”

hunger, south sudan
The United Nations estimates nearly 7 million South Sudanese, or 61 percent of the population, will face acute levels of food insecurity in about six weeks’ time. Pixabay

Verhoosel says people living in the worst-affected areas are experiencing famine-like conditions, with little or nothing to eat or to feed their families.  The agency currently is providing food for 2.77 million people. Verhoosel says the WFP plans to scale up aid to reach more than 5 million by the end of the year.

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The U.N. children’s fund and partners say they too will scale up services to reach more children affected by severe acute malnutrition with therapeutic feeding.

The Food and Agriculture Organization reports it is providing new varieties of seed suited to local conditions.  It says it also is training farmers in techniques that will reduce losses from drought and flooding. (VOA)