South Sudan Faces Highest Levels of Food Insecurity since Onset of Conflict in 2013, Warns Save the Children

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WASHINGTON, DC (June 30, 2016) — 4.8 million people in South Sudan – more than a third of the country’s population – will face severe food shortages over the coming months, amid a looming hunger crisis threatening large parts of the country, Save the Children warns today.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the Government of South Sudan, agencies and humanitarian partners, projects that 4.8 million people will be in need of urgent food and nutrition assistance in July, up half a million from 4.3 million in April.

“This is the highest level of hunger the country has seen since the onset of conflict in December 2013. We have witnessed a more than three-fold increase in the number of severely malnourished children being admitted to our Out Patient Therapeutic (OPT) feeding programs,” warns Peter Walsh, Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan.

“The spreading of conflict to areas that were peaceful even during the height of the conflict, coupled with a delayed rainy season, rising food prices, impassable roads and dysfunctional markets are all preventing families from accessing food and causing immense suffering for the people of South Sudan.”

Escalating food insecurity and conflict are also forcing many families over the borders into neighboring countries.

“In the last few months alone, an estimated 100,000 South Sudanese people have crossed into Sudan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, with the number set to increase to more than 150,000 by the beginning of July,” said Walsh.

“What we are seeing right now is a grim sign of what is to come in the next few months. If the funding to avert hunger in South Sudan is not prioritized, hunger will become a death sentence for children in the world’s youngest nation, a situation completely unacceptable on our watch.” Mr. Walsh has warned.

Save the Children currently supports the highest number of OPTs in the country. With the spike in the sheer number of malnutrition cases among children, pregnant and lactating mothers, there is dire need to further scale-up in areas that have not yet been reached due to challenges in resources and access constraints.

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