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Hunger: ‘Families survive on leaves’

Author : Hellen Achayo | Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Norwegian Refugee Council says famine has forced some communities in South Sudan to resort to extreme coping techniques of eating leaves from trees due to hunger.

The NRC said it recently visited areas in the country, including areas that have not been affected by famine.

Famine was declared in the former Unity State by the Bureau of Statistics and three UN agencies.

NRC said the food crisis has hit hard food productive areas such as, Amothic in Aweil Centre County.

NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan, Rehana Zawar, says the bitter leaves eaten by families are from the Lalop tree, and have limited nutritional value.

“When families eat these leaves and little else, malnutrition quickly follows,” said Zawar.

She said some families have been eating wild water lilies, or seeds to survive in areas with famine.

Ms. Zawara said international donors need to provide more funding for emergency aid for South Sudan to stop the famine and food crisis from escalating.

The aid appeal for South Sudan requires $1.6 billion to support people in need.

In a report, NRC warned that this could worsen the food crisis, and threaten to spread the famine to adjacent areas.

The organization added that the consumption of seeds is especially alarming without which families will have nothing to plant for the next growing season.

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