The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday that it has halted some food supplies in South Sudan owing to a budget crisis, putting 1.7 million people at danger of hunger.
The WFP’s decision to halt aid to nearly a third of the 6.2 million people in South Sudan it had intended to help this year comes as global food prices rise in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, leaving humanitarian agencies short on cash.
Climate change is compounding the problem, with South Sudan experiencing catastrophic flooding, localized drought, and man-made violence, leaving more than 60% of the population enduring acute famine.
“Since independence, South Sudan has had its hungriest year. We’re already in a crisis, but we’re working to save things from becoming much worse “Adeyinka Badejo-Sanogo, the WFP’s interim country director in South Sudan, told reporters in Geneva.
Badejo-Sanogo, speaking from Juba, South Sudan’s capital, said the World Food Programme (WFP) urgently needs $426 million to satisfy requirements for the next six months and calm a “explosive situation.”
Before withdrawing food aid, the WFP stated it had explored all alternatives, including cutting rations in 2021.
Following the suspension of food aid, it said it now hopes to reach 4.5 million South Sudanese in need, including 87,000 individuals who are already suffering from famine-like circumstances.