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UN warns of looming food crisis in South Sudan
Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu [Photo by AP]

UN warns of looming food crisis in South Sudan

The United Nations Tuesday issued a stark warning of multiple, looming food crises in South Sudan and across the globe.

Two UN agencies — the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said the food crisis was due to conflict, weather extremes, economic shocks and the lingering impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen remain at ‘highest alert’ as hotspots with catastrophic conditions, and Afghanistan and Somalia are new entries to this worrisome category since the last hotspots report, released in January.

It calls for urgent humanitarian action in 20 ‘hunger hotspots’ where acute hunger is expected to worsen from June to September 2022.

“We are deeply concerned about the combined impacts of overlapping crises jeopardizing people’s ability to produce and access foods, pushing millions more into extreme levels of acute food insecurity,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said in a statement seen by The Juba Echo.

“We are in a race against time to help farmers in the most affected countries, including by rapidly increasing potential food production and boosting their resilience in the face of challenges,” he added.

The report says that these six countries all have parts of the population facing IPC (Integrated Phase Classification) phase 5 ‘Catastrophe’ levels, at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions, with up to 750,000 people facing starvation and death in Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.

It provides concrete country-specific recommendations for immediate humanitarian assistance to save lives, prevent famine and protect livelihoods.

In the critical window between an early warning and a shock, the UN agencies advocate for flexible humanitarian funding to better anticipate needs and protect communities.

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