South Sudan Hunger Crisis Looming
South Sudan Hunger Crisis: A million people in South Sudan are in danger of severe hunger. While hunger has always been an issue for the young country, the link between it and conflict means that more South Sudanese are hungry now, more than ever before.
The Kakuma Refugee camp in northern Kenya, just 80 miles away from South Sudan’s border, where many refugees who’ve recently fled the country. Children here are malnourished and adults are not getting the right amount of nutrition.
Hunger isn’t a new issue for this country. It has encountered waves of dryness, hunger and severe drought as recently in 2017. But these issues have only been exacerbated by the country’s civil war.
In 2013, after two years of independence South Sudan became self-governing and at the time leader Salva Kiir dismissed his entire ministry and accused then-Vice President Riek Machar of plotting a failed coup. Salva Kiir comes from ethnic Dinka, the country’s largest society, while Machar is from Nuer, the second largest inhabitants.
Salva Kiir: South Sudan Hunger Crisis
The political fight eventually turned into ethnic violence. The violence has removed over 4 million South Sudanese, increased human needs and stayed relief services. While fighting between crowds reaches across the country it hasn’t only blocked the transport of food but harvesting in general.
One challenge the nation faces every year is the seasons. South Sudanese rely on their dry seasons for harvest and refer to the rainy season as the hunger season because it’s the time they rely on stored food before the next harvest.
Source: Irin News
Up to 95% of people in South Sudan are reliant on climate-sensitive activities for their means, like agriculture, forestry resources and fisheries. Some experts blame climate change for increased drought and flooding, which inundated the lowlands and afflicted its highlands.
In addition to climate, infrastructure is also a significant issue for the country which makes food transport nearly difficult during certain seasons. There is no road, and even where there is a road, during the rainy season it’s impossible because it’s not a perfect road that everyone is thinking. It’s quite muddy so the car cannot go.
South Sudan Hunger Crisis
If you have food which is available in Juba and if you wanted to take it to Bantu, you will not be able to do this because there is no way that you can carry the food. To add to this problem that some people come and attack you and burn your crops.
That has made this year’s harvest, the smallest on record since the country was formed in 2011. In January this year, when harvests are supposed to be abundant in the country, one million people were already ‘food insecure,’ a 40 % increase from the same time last year.
Aid groups say that if funding and awareness remain low on this crisis, 7.1 million South Sudanese are projected to face severe food insecurity during this year’s hunger season and consistent fighting has also crippled South Sudan’s economy making the food that is available in the country increasingly unaffordable.
UNHCR: South Sudan Hunger Crisis
In 2018, over 4 million South Sudanese were displaced due to hunger and war. While a large number of replaced people placed to other sectors of South Sudan. Some are forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries like Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Even when refugees make it to areas like Kakuma, they often find incompatible living situations in camps that don’t have enough supplies to provide them. An aid worker who was here in 2014 after the war broke out said “In Kakuma reception center we had over a thousand people arriving in every day, and it was actually saddening to see hundreds of people seated on the ground, not enough space to adjust them, not sufficient space in the tent to have them moved, so they would stay here, for months until a home could be found for them to stay in the camps”.
There are over 180,000 refugees in Kakuma, and over 50% are from South Sudan. They’re the only ones that get instant refugee status and that is because the South Sudan situation is known globally as the largest crisis facing right now in the region.
Kakuma Camp: South Sudan Hunger Crisis
So whenever a South Sudanese person crosses a border into a country they’re automatically treated as a refugee. Even when these refugees make it into the camps, hunger is still a problem for them. Just last year, aid organizations had to decrease refugee food rations in Kenya by 30% due to a lack of enough funding.
Eugin Byun, Public formation officer, UNHCR said, “people say ‘yeah, Africa is the same thing over and over again,’ without knowing what is actually going on. But as I said, remember about the kids. Think about the moms and they’re the sufferer. They are not fighting, they are the victims.
If the funding is being cut, that means less food for those vulnerable. Less assistance for those vulnerable. The UN Refugee Agency says it needs 841 million US Dollars to address this crisis but only 8% of that, 69 Million, has been received.
South Sudan Hunger Crisis
One thing that I can definitely tell you, is don’t forget the South Sudanese. They are simply like you. They are mothers and children who want to survive. Over the times, a number of peace discussions have been held with the limited outcome. Although stopping the war may not solve all food instability problems in the country, one thing is clear, the war finish would be a step in the proper direction.
South Sudan is one of the most prominent refugee’s crises of our time.