27th May 2024
Make a Donation

UN warns of looming hunger facing refugees, returnees

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Tuesday, October 3, 2023

A family displaced by the conflict in Sudan. (WFP).

UN’s food agency warned Tuesday that a hunger emergency is looming on the border between South Sudan and Sudan as families fleeing fighting in Sudan continue to cross the border every day.

World Food Program (WFP) indicates that nearly 300,000 people have now arrived in South Sudan from Sudan in the last five months, following a fierce battle between Sudan military factions on April 15, 2023.

The agency said the displaced are overwhelmingly South Sudanese, among whom, one in five children are malnourished and 90 percent of families say they are going multiple days without eating.

It cited a new food security assessment indicating that 90 percent of returnee families are experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity, while almost 20 percent of children under five and more than a quarter of pregnant and breastfeeding women are malnourished.

“We are seeing families leave one disaster for another as they flee danger in Sudan only to find despair in South Sudan,” says Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan.

“The humanitarian situation for returnees is unacceptable and WFP is struggling to meet the mounting humanitarian needs at the border. We simply do not have the resources to provide life-saving assistance to those who need it most.”

WFP said the rainy season has made conditions at crowded transit centres and border crossings even more difficult, with flooding worsening food insecurity and contributing to the spread of disease.

Many families report being robbed and experiencing violence as they escaped the war in Sudan and are crossing the border to South Sudan with nothing but the clothes on their backs, says the agency.

It adds: “Those arriving today are in an even more vulnerable condition than families that fled in the early weeks of the conflict.”

WFP appeals for $120m

The UN food agency said it is in the frontline – providing food and non-food assistance “to meet the immediate needs of the families at the border.

However, WFP said it urgently requires more than 120 million U.S. dollars to increase support for people fleeing Sudan’s war into South Sudan over the next few months.

“Significant resources are also needed to help people move onwards from the crowded border area and to support them as they rebuild their lives in South Sudan, a country many of the returnees have never actually lived in,” read the statement.

WFP further said it has a funding gap of US$536 million over the next six months and was only able to reach 40 per cent of food insecure people with food assistance in 2023.

Those who are receiving assistance only receive half rations due to funding shortfalls which is further entrenching food insecurity, it added.

Support Eye Radio, the first independent radio broadcaster of news, information & entertainment in South Sudan.

Make a monthly or a one off contribution.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!