Food cuts in South Sudan a ‘devastating blow’: World Vision
Soaring humanitarian need combined with insufficient funding has forced the World Food Programme to suspend food assistance for 106,000 displaced people in South Sudan.
Those people, who rely on humanitarian aid to survive, will now receive half the amount of food a person needs to function. This means that an active adult male will consume fewer calories than recommended for a moderately active five-year-old child in Canada, the UK and the United States.
South Sudan is one of six countries identified as having populations living in “famine-like conditions” (IPC 5*). In June, the leaders of the G7 endorsed their Global Compact on Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crises, pledging $US8.5 billion ($AU11.54 billion) to meet the most urgent needs in the most at-risk countries. Unfortunately, those commitments have been slow to materialise as aid for those that desperately need them. This means the WFP has had to make the very difficult decision today to cut the rations of one very high-needs group to meet the even more urgent needs of another population in even more difficult circumstances.
As the WFP’s main food distribution partner in South Sudan, almost all people impacted by this decision are World Vision beneficiaries, and 67 per cent of the people the NGO serves in South Sudan are children.
World Vision South Sudan National Director Mesfin Loha said: "South Sudan is in a dire humanitarian situation. It is currently experiencing one of the severest levels of food insecurity. Over 60 per cent of its 12 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. The recent WFP announcement on the food assistance cuts will be a devastating blow to the already very fragile situation.”
WFP’s announcement comes at a time when more than 41 million people around the world are experiencing Emergency (IPC 4) levels of hunger, a 50 per cent increase in one year. This is due to a deadly mix of conflict, climate change and the economic impacts of COVID-19 are sharply increasing humanitarian need across the globe with the necessary financial resources are not keep apace. Of most urgent concern are the 584,000 people already living in Catastrophe/Famine (IPC 5).
*The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system is 1) a standardized scale of food insecurity; and 2) a process for building interagency technical consensus on the state of food insecurity in a specific country at a given moment and are meant to provide technically rigorous data to support decision-making. The 5 ‘phases’ of food insecurity are: Phase 1 (None/Minimal), Phase 2 (Stressed), Phase 3 (Crises), Phase 4 (Emergency) and Phase 5 (Catastrophe/Famine).
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