Report: Food shortage in South Sudan to worsen in Q1

The number of food insecure people in South Sudan is estimated to have increased to 4.7 million this year, of which 1 million are severely food insecure. This is according to the latest food security assessment report from the United Nations.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.N. World Food Program report, “Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to South Sudan,” shows the world’s newest nation is suffering from a food shortage that is likely to deteriorate this quarter. The present crisis was triggered by poor harvests, increased demand, rapidly rising prices, conflict, internal displacement and a large influx of returnees from neighboring countries.

The closure of the border crossings between the country and Sudan has also led to the disruption of food supply in South Sudan markets, exacerbating the crisis. The country is facing a cereal deficit of more than 470,000 tons — almost half of its total annual consumption.

WFP is seeking for increased donor support to cover a $160 million funding shortfall. FAO, meanwhile, is seeking $23 million for the country under the U.N. Consolidated Appeals Process.

Chris Nikoi, WFP country director in South Sudan, said the program is doing “everything” it can, but it is “running out of time.”

WFP’s assistance plans only cover 2.7 million of the crisis-affected population. This is not enough to address the 1 million severely food insecure and the 3.7 million moderately food insecure. The number of those suffering from severe food insecurity could double without immediate intervention.

In addition, WFP assistance is only for the 115,000 internally displaced people from Abyei state, where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating, according to the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee. Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, said aid agencies have been ready to provide relief goods since November, but are finding it difficult to gain access to the state.

The FAO and WFP conducted the food security assessment mission in October and November 2011.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.