Deteriorating food security in south Sudan
According to the South Sudan Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released on February 8, an estimated 2.8 million people — almost a quarter of the population of South Sudan’s population — are in urgent need of aid. At least 40,000 people are on “the brink of catastrophe.” The warning comes at a time when South Sudan is traditionally most food insecure.
The majority of the acutely food insecure population (57%) is located in the Greater Upper Nile states of Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile. Unity State remains the most affected because of continued fighting that has displaced large populations and disrupted their livelihoods. The dry season means that many of those displaced in Unity State, who have been living on fish and water lilies to survive, are running out of their only remaining sources of food.
“After seven years working in what is now South Sudan, I have never seen worse conditions,” said Zlatko Gegic, Oxfam’s Country Director in South Sudan. “Women have had to traipse through forests and wade through swamps for days to access aid. Women who cannot make the journey are forced to rely on others for survival.”
Unless humanitarian assistance reaches them during the dry season, people increasingly face a food security catastrophe in the coming months. For this reason, Oxfam is calling for timely implementation of the peace agreement signed last year, and for unrestricted access to conflict areas to deliver much needed supplies to the people who need them the most.
From its bases in two of the worst affected states, Jonglei and Unity, Oxfam is addressing the rising food insecurity. We are currently distributing food to vulnerable people in Akobo and Chuil, Jonglei State. From the base in Nyal, Unity State, Oxfam’s Protection team is supporting the ongoing food distribution by ensuring the needs and rights of the beneficiaries are met. We are also providing vouchers for canoe rides home that would otherwise be too expensive for many.