While much of the world’s attention is focused on the crisis in Syria, and the urgent needs of people affected by that conflict, millions of people in South Sudan continue to face unprecedented levels of food insecurity.
That’s according to a news release issued by the United Nations.
The release, released on February 8, notes that “nearly 25 percent of the country’s population remain in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 people are on the brink of catastrophe.”
“There are many people who are suffering in South Sudan right now,” says Canadian Foodgrains Bank International Programs Director Barbara Macdonald. “The upcoming dry season is going to cause even more hardship for people who are already struggling to get by.”
Since the conflict in South Sudan broke out in December 2013, over two million people have been displaced by the fighting either into other areas of the country, or into neighbouring countries.
Even for people who haven’t been displaced, rising food prices and market disruptions are making it difficult for people to access food. Resources in communities that are hosting displaced people are also being stretched further and further as the war goes on.
“It is important that the people of South Sudan are not forgotten,” says Macdonald. “The number of conflicts in the world might seem overwhelming, but it’s still important to do what we can.”
Since the beginning of the conflict, Foodgrains Bank members have committed over $4.5 million to nine different projects.
One example of an ongoing project is in Central Equatoria State, where fighting in fall 2015 displaced thousands of people, forcing them into the project area. Foodgrains Bank member ADRA Canada is providing emergency rations of sorghum, beans, oil, and salt to about 14,000 people. Presbyterian World Service and Development and The United Church of Canada are also providing funding for this project.
Other members who are responding in South Sudan include Mennonite Central Committee and World Relief Canada. World Renew and World Relief Canada are also implementing longer-term agricultural and livelihood programs in areas less-affected by the fighting, but suffering from high levels of chronic food insecurity.
(Report from Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger. In the 2014-15 budget year, the Foodgrains Bank provided over $41 million of assistance for 1.1 million people in 39 countries. Canadian Foodgrains Bank projects are undertaken with matching support from the Government of Canada. Assistance from the Foodgrains Bank is provided through its member agencies, which work with local partners in the developing world.)