Famine In South Sudan: Death Toll Rises As Government Requests For Help


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South Sudanese government along with three other United Nations Agencies have declared famine in South Sudan.

The agencies said the man-made natural disaster will affect more than 100,000 people from the Northeastern African country.

The famine in South Sudan is as a result of the continuous war, violence, and struggle for freedom which has culminated in the collapsing of the economy of the country leaving more than 100,000 people to suffer from starvation.

The United Nations also projects that an additional one million people in the war-torn areas of the country are on the brink of facing famine.

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The famine in South Sudan is currently affecting parts of the Unity state with humanitarian groups and aid agencies like the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) having warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger.

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The agencies in a statement on Monday said;

If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated.”

Aid agencies, including the UN World Food Programme and UNICEF, said that 4.9 million people – more than 40% of South Sudan’s population – are in urgent need of food.

The Causes of Famine

Many famines are caused by the imbalance of food production compared to the large populations of countries whose population exceeds the regional carrying capacity.

According to Wikipedia, famine is caused by certain measures of

  • Shortage in the food supply,
  • Shortage in food consumption and
  • Mortality

Shortage of food in a population can be caused by a lack of food or difficulties in food distribution. It can be worsened by harsh climatic conditions and extreme political conditions which are related to oppressive government or warfare.

Shortage in food consumption in a population can be seen when a lot of people cannot get sufficient food for themselves thereby giving rise to malnutrition and death.

High Mortality in a population can be caused by a severe threat to food intake and availability in some segment of the population.

South Sudan was officially known as the Republic of South Sudan. The country is bordered by Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Uganda to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest, and the Central African Republic to the west. It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd, formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal.

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South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 before the civil war broke out three years ago. The famine in South Sudan is said to be “man-made” as stated by the Head of the WFP in South Sudan, Joyce Luma, after three years of conflict across the country stifled crop production hit farmers and rural livelihoods.

The impact of the conflict, combined with high food prices, economic disruption and low agricultural production has resulted in the area becoming “food insecure,” Luma added.

Reports have it that it is not the first time South Sudan experienced such a crisis. During the war for independence from Sudan, they suffered from famine in 1998.

Despite the aid of international humanitarian agencies, the materials they provided are not enough to take care of those in need.