The world’s youngest country has cause to celebrate. In February 2017, after years of acute food insecurities, famine was officially declared in Unity State and parts of Jonglei State in South Sudan. However, as of June, the national Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) technical working group, a consortium of government ministers, the UN and NGOs, declared that the worst of the catastrophe has been alleviated. This comes as welcome news as the country enters its seventh year of independence.
It’s likely thanks to the quick and variegated delivery of humanitarian assistance provided since March that famine was not only addressed, but also prevented from spreading to other areas of the country. With early detection of the emerging humanitarian crisis by organizations such as the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, massive and preemptive efforts by the humanitarian community prevented additional deaths.
As part of ongoing relief efforts to support the South Sudanese, Rise Against Hunger is taking a multi-sector approach to address this dire situation. The organization concentrated its efforts in Jonglei State, where Rise Against Hunger supports a severe acute malnutrition therapeutic feeding program implemented by Crosscurrents International. The program combats wasting in patients suffering from Kala Azar, a neglected tropical disease, through the distribution of Plumpy’Nut, a ready-to-use therapeutic food, in an inpatient setting. Acute malnutrition remains a huge public health crisis for several areas of South Sudan.
Rise Against Hunger also supports a sustainable community development program managed by Mothering Across Continents in Old Fangak. The program aims to provide school meals, construct secure food storage and stabilize local markets through local food purchases for the school feeding program. More than 1,300 school-age children at the Old Fangak community school are supported by this initiative.
Although South Sudan has passed a critical inflection point, the situation is delicate. Armed conflict, economic crisis and demoralizing crop harvests continue to threaten the recent, impressive food security success. With no end in sight to a civil war rooted in ethnic disparities that has displaced millions, and peak lean season fast approaching, the need for humanitarian assistance will continue to escalate. Despite the official end of famine, the expected number of people to face severe levels of food insecurity through June and July is 6 million. Massive scale-up efforts are in order; otherwise we risk jeopardizing a hard fought win for the South Sudanese.
Let’s lead the charge. Please help us put an end to hunger in South Sudan by contributing to Rise Against Hunger’s Global Emergency Relief Fund. Your generous donation will help us provide urgent, life-saving relief in a dire situation.