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Famine in 2018 a possible fallout from the ongoing war, humanitarians warn
The Associated Press
November 06, 2017
In this photo from April, some of the thousands of people who walked for hours to reach a food distribution site in South Sudan. In war-torn South Sudan 1.25 million people are facing starvation, double the number from the same time last year. (Associated Press)
In war-torn South Sudan, 1.25 million people are facing starvation, double the number from the same time last year, according to a report by the United Nations and the government released Monday.
This country could once again plunge into famine in 2018, warn humanitarians and the government.
"The widespread and extreme food consumption gaps ... should make us all extremely concerned about the worst-case scenario of famine in many locations across South Sudan in 2018," said Katie Rickard, country co-ordinator for REACH, a humanitarian research initiative that provided data for the report.
Humanitarians blame the worsening situation on South Sudan's continuing conflict, which is nearing its fifth year and has killed more than 50,000 people.
Severe hunger for 6 million
In February, the world's youngest nation declared famine in two counties in Unity State, the world's first formal famine declaration since Somalia in 2011. In South Sudan's two counties, 100,000 people were on the brink of starvation but thanks to early detection and a rapid response catastrophe was avoided, said the World Food Program.
However, the latest food and security analysis update by the UN and South Sudan's National Bureau of Statistics is grim.
'We have nothing'
"We ran out because of the hunger," said a resident of Baggari who recently fled with his family to the nearby town of Wau because they didn't have any food. He spoke on condition of anonymity for his safety. The 52-year-old father of four told AP by phone that people are "dying of hunger" and in the last year and a half he only saw humanitarians enter Baggari town three times.
"If the government doesn't approve of people coming in to help what can we do? We have nothing, we can just pray," he said.