WFP appeals for funds to avert hunger in South Sudan

Photo credit: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

 ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced in a press release Thursday that it “is in a race against time” to mobilise funds to feed millions of people in South Sudan.

 Destructive floods since October followed a severe drought in parts of the country, while intense political instability is further worsening the outlook.

 The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification September 2019 (prepared by government and United Nations experts) data projects that up to 5.5 million South Sudanese will be going hungry in early 2020.

 "With all the catastrophes around the world, the last thing we need is another,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said. “We know the problems that we’ve been having in South Sudan, but the rains and the floods have led to a national disaster and are much worse than anyone could have anticipated.”

 “In fact, if we don't get funding in the next few weeks and months, we are literally talking about famine. We need support, we need help and we need it now,” he said.

 According to the WFP, nearly one million people have been directly affected by flooding which destroyed 73,000 tons of potential harvest, and killed tens of thousands of cattle and goats on which people depend for survival.

 The WFP said that it needs 270 million US dollars for the first half of 2020, of which 100 million in the next month, in order to buy and position food in advance, ahead of the rainy season in May 2020, notwithstanding the WFP effort in 2019 to reach 4.6 million people with essential support.

 The Government declared a state of emergency in late October in Bahr El Ghazal, Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria due to the floods, calling for an increase in international assistance.

 The WFP says experts are warning that the country’s food security outlook has never been so dire.