Today in the Country 6 million people are suffering from hunger. Alongside the pandemic, the rain season threatens the population
Food insecurity in South Sudan has reached worrisome figures, with almost six million people affected. This means not having an adequate and reliable access to food and to a balanced diet on a daily basis. Stefano Antichi, INTERSOS Head of Mission, has been living in South Sudan for 15 months, a long enough period to observe the living condition of the local population. “We have decided to intervene first-hand in the distribution of food” Stefano says, “we reach the most complex rural areas, like Pibor near the Ethiopian border. A place where food insecurity is a permanent threat”.
COVID- 19 and floods increase the levels of hunger
Hunger has always been constant in South Sudan, but with the COVID-19 pandemic and the floods that seasonally hit the country, emergency levels have relentlessly increased. “Dramatic months are expected, a growth in severe famine enough to reach level 5, the highest and most urgent level: for this reason people rely completely on humanitarian aid”. In different parts of Jonglei State, a region in the East of the country, people were dealing with serious famine since last October. The latest data and projections for the summer season, highlight an increase in the number of people who will enter in the most critical phases of food insecurity. Around seven million people will reach the level of high food insecurity.
An additional 100.000 people may reach levels of true emergency by July. In total, an increase of 700.000 people compared to the same period of last year: the survival of 80% of the South Sudanese population has been depending on humanitarian aid for years, 60% does not have daily access to food.
Financial assistance and food distribution in rural areas
The INTERSOS intervention in South Sudan is focused on different areas of the Jonglei State. Cash assistance has now been paired with food distribution in all viable manners: by canoe, car, helicopter, all that is necessary to reach people in the most pressing need. “These are territories that have been subjected to years of extreme survival conditions, where people have to face hunger and epidemics, but are also forced to flee from frequent intra-community clashes and seasonal floods that destroy fields and all possibilities of sow and harvest”.
Children are the main victims of this tragedy: “They are the most affected, especially those between 0 and 5. Often, they are born malnourished because their own mothers were during pregnancy. The future scenario for this country is terrible”, Stefano says “the constant political instability, the absence of humanitarian funds and the lack of interest by the international community make this a forgotten crisis”.