Saturday July 20, 2019

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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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.

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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)

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North Korea’s Poor Early Harvest Increases Hunger, Malnutrition, Water Borne Diseases: IFRC

Current food crisis is likely to lead to rising malnutrition rates and water borne diseases, such as diarrhea and colitis

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FILE - North Korean farmers plant rice seedlings in a field at the Sambong Cooperative Farm, South Pyongan Province. VOA

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is warning about increased hunger, malnutrition, and waterborne diseases in North Korea due to a poor early harvest.

North Korea’s expected June-to-September harvest has been cut in half due to an early spring drought. The International Red Cross Federation reports the destruction of crops is having a devastating impact on thousands of the most vulnerable people.

It says the elderly, families with young children, breast-feeding mothers, those suffering from chronic illnesses or disabilities are in desperate need. Red Cross spokesman Matthew Cochrane said the humanitarian situation for many communities across North Korea is extremely critical. He said the U.N. estimates more than 40 percent of the population, around 11 million people, is in need of food aid.

“It has been and remains one of the world’s truly silent humanitarian emergencies,” he told VOA  “The work that we are doing now really is about trying to help very vulnerable communities survive the coming weeks and months, but it is a drop in the ocean, I think and much more support is needed.”

hunger, malnutrition
Current food crisis is likely to lead to rising malnutrition rates and water borne diseases, such as diarrhea and colitis. VOA

Cochrane said 20 percent of North Korea’s children are malnourished. He warned the current food crisis is likely to lead to rising malnutrition rates and water borne diseases, such as diarrhea and colitis.

ALSO READ: UN: Global Hunger Levels Stabilizing, While Obesity Rates are Skyrocketing

“Often you see in a drought [a] situation where — obviously there is a lack of water — the water that is available is polluted, is not really fit for human consumption,” he said. “But people really have no choice but to consume that water. So, by providing clean water, not just for the crops but also for all the people, we hope to have the added benefit of improving crop yields and improving food security. But also helping protect people against waterborne illnesses.”

The Red Cross Federation is appealing for nearly $500,000 to provide life-saving assistance for thousands of people in the most affected communities in North Phyongan province. Given the severity of the situation, it says quick action is needed to save what can be saved from the failed harvest and to ensure that people whose food stocks are almost gone do not go hungry. (VOA)