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JUBA - 16 Oct 2019

Millions of South Sudanese struggling to feed themselves: ICRC

ICRC photo
ICRC photo

More than half of South Sudan’s population is struggling to have enough to eat, a humanitarian institution said Wednesday on World Food Day.

World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.

In a press release extended to Radio Tamazuj, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said while food insecurity has improved slightly since the same period last year, millions of South Sudanese are still dependent on food aid for their survival.

“The hunger crisis in South Sudan is man-made,” said Ottavio Sardu, who manages ICRC’s livelihood and food security programs in South Sudan. “Years of conflict and violence have uprooted millions from their homes and livelihoods. People need resources and stability to plant, rebuild, and start a new life.”

The humanitarian organization said it has provided food, seeds, and farming tools to more than a million South Sudanese this year, a signal of how widespread food insecurity is in the country.

 “I just eat what I get. If I don’t get anything, I just don’t eat,” said Gatluak, 20. He, like millions of other South Sudanese, was displaced from his home by fighting.  He received seeds and tools from the ICRC in Maiwut earlier this year.

The ICRC pointed out that it has provided more than 70,000 families with seeds and tools so far this year and that many of them are now seeing the cereal they planted starting to sprout.

“This is a promising sign they will have food to harvest later in the year, unless fighting forces them to flee and abandon what they planted or other unforeseen events,” said Ottavio.

The ICRC further said it has reached 67 locations across the country with projects that support long-term food production in the country since the beginning of the year.

According to a recent report released by South Sudan government and three United Nations agencies last week, about seven million people - more than half of the country's population - are facing severe hunger.