Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB-VSF) Canada is announcing an appeal to tackle hunger in South Sudan. VSF Canada seeks CAD$1.8 million for the next six months to help alleviate hunger in South Sudan’s Jonglei and Unity states. In a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, the funding will cover food distribution to malnourished children and caretakers, distribution of agriculture inputs to small-scale farmers, and resources to build the resilience of families who are affected by hunger.
John Gaaniko, VWB Country Director, warned that, “South Sudan is experiencing the worst hunger crisis ever; people eat leaves and wild fruits to survive. If we don’t respond to their immediate needs, we are going to see more catastrophes. We are seeking urgent support to help elderly people, malnourished children and caretakers, and those families who can’t afford one meal per day”.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), there are an estimated 8.3 million people currently facing food crisis across the country; out of this, 1.3 million children under the age of 5, and 676,000 pregnant and lactating women, are experiencing severe acute malnutrition. In addition, the World Bank estimates that 80 percent of South Sudan’s population lives on US$1 dollar a day.
The main drivers causing this humanitarian situation are covariate climatic, conflict, and economic shocks such as floods and dry spells, high and escalating food prices, and the continued disruption of livelihoods due to violence. In December 2021, floods destroyed 251,325 livestock (cattle, goats, and sheep) in Jonglei state and 354,725 in Unity state respectively (FAO, 2021). Currently, there are 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country (55 percent of these, are women and girls (UN, 2022).
According to WFP, while global attention remains focused on Ukraine, a hidden hunger emergency is engulfing South Sudan, with approximately 8.3 million people in South Sudan – including refugees – facing extreme hunger in the coming months as the 2022 lean season peaks, food becomes scarce, and provisions are depleted, according to the latest findings published in the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview.
The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation and Africa’s 55th country on July 9, 2011. Renewed conflicts in December 2013 and July 2016 have undermined the development gains achieved since independence and have worsened the humanitarian situation.
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2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview