'Storm of hunger' approaches South Sudan

The new nation of South Sudan is not spared from the food crisis afflicting its neighbors.

The World Food Program warned on Wednesday (Dec. 15) that crop failure and high food prices, combined with ongoing conflict and insecurity, will place 2.5 million people in South Sudan in “critical conditions unless food assistance is provided immediately.”

“A gathering storm of hunger is approaching South Sudan,” WFP Director in South Sudan Chris Nikoi said.

Erratic rains have damaged the country’s crops. And since gaining independence in July, the country has faced outbreaks of ethnic violence and disruption in food trade. The presence of armed groups and militias, and the increase in refugees have also complicated the situation.

The WFP said it would need $92 million in emergency funds to address the hunger situation in South Sudan in the first four months of 2012. The fund will help provide support for 2.7 million hungry and conflict-affected people, and to 500,000 children, pregnant women and nursing mothers who need highly fortified supplementary foods.

Timing is critical in South Sudan’s situation, according to WFP. The program said once the rainy season starts in March and April next year, 60 percent of the country will be “cut off.”

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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.