18th January 2021
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Diplomats ‘deeply concerned’ with the worsening food security situation

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Girls and women in Rumbek, South Sudan, gain access to the wild fruit to make porridge. Credit|Charles Lomodong/Plan International

The Heads of diplomatic missions in South Sudan have expressed deep concerns over the deteriorating food security situation in the country. 

They called for partnership between the donors, humanitarian agencies, and the Government of South Sudan to fully address the humanitarian needs.

“We call upon the Government of South Sudan to acknowledge the full extent of the food insecurity and nutrition crisis in South Sudan,” a statement from the Heads of Mission read.

On Friday, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification estimates showed that between October and November, up to 6.5 million people in South Sudan faced severe acute food insecurity.

This number is projected to grow to 7.24 million between April and July next year.

It reported that the humanitarian conditions are dire in Pibor County, Akobo, Aweil South, Tonj East, Tonj North and Tonj South, where some communities are said to be experiencing high levels of acute malnutrition and even mortality.

Around 1.4 million children aged between 6 months and 5 years are also expected to be acutely malnourished in 2021 and will need life-saving treatment.

In a joint statement issued yesterday, the Heads of Mission of the United Kingdom, United States, Norway, the Netherlands and the European Union Delegation called for immediate measures to de-escalate the violence that is affecting communities’ access to livelihoods, food and other support. 

“Of particular concern is that children are more likely to be at risk of dying in the current situation,” they said, adding that “Over 30% of children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years in Pibor County are suffering from acute malnutrition now, which is double the level that is considered an emergency.”

The diplomats demanded an end to bureaucratic and logistic barriers to facilitate safe, unhindered access for humanitarian agencies and workers to reach people in need, and to remove access.

“Whilst we accept that responding to COVID-19 requires additional protective measures, this should not be used to justify undue processes for travel and timely access,” the diplomats stressed.

The statement also underscored the importance of ensuring all attacks on humanitarian workers cease and any that do happen are fully investigated in line with the Statement of Principles and Actions paper (Humanitarian Donors November 2019).

The donors further urged President Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President Dr Riek Machar, and relevant Ministers, to take direct personal leadership on this issue.

They reaffirmed their readiness to support the people of South Sudan in responding to this crisis.

Full statement: Read here…

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