Famine in South Sudan has left 100,000 people on the verge of starvation and almost 5 million people, more than 40% of the country’s population, in need of urgent help, aid agencies say.
People are already dying of hunger, and another 1 million people are on the brink of famine, UN agencies said.
Years of civil war, a refugee crisis and a collapsing economy have taken their toll on South Sudan since it gained its independence in 2011.
Now the UN World Food Programme and nongovernmental organizations are sounding the alarm, warning that more than a million children are suffering from acute malnutrition.
“Our worst fears have been realized,” said Serge Tissot, of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive.”
The war has disrupted farming and left people with little choice but to scavenge for food to survive.
“People have been pushed to the brink, [they are] surviving on what they can find to eat in swamps,” said Emma Jane Drew, Oxfam’s humanitarian program manager in South Sudan.
“Vulnerable people, out of reach of life-saving assistance due to the conflict, are paying the ultimate price,” she added in a statement.