WFP: Why the hunger fight in South Sudan is one 'expensive business’

A mother and her children at the outskirts of a village in Jonglei, South Sudan where ethnic clashes have displaced some 60,000 people. Photo by: Isaac Billy / UN

It’s extremely tough – and pricey — to wage the hunger fight in South Sudan. And the World Food Program lists four reasons why:

  • Cereal production plunged at least 30 percent in 2011, causing a national grain deficit of around 400,000 metric tons in 2012. 

  • The prices of sorghum and wheat flour in most areas are now twice what they were in the same period in 2011, with high fuel prices driving up the cost of transport and, in turn, the price of food in markets. 

  • Tensions in several areas, such as tribal fighting in Jonglei, have intensified since the country declared independence in July 2011, displacing thousands. This makes it difficult to reach those in need of aid. 

  • Most of the roads are not accessible during the rainy season. This means reaching those in need will have to be done by air, adding more cost to the emergency response.

“Taken together, the challenges described above combine to make responding to hunger in South Sudan an expensive business,” WFP says.

WFP notes it is facing a shortfall of $177 million for its 12-month emergency initiative starting January 2012 in South Sudan. The operation, which has a proposed budget of $262 million, targets 2.7 million beneficiaries, including 500,000 children and mothers, and more than 540,000 refugees and internally displaced people.

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.