Famine declared in parts of South Sudan

Famine declared in parts of South Sudan UNICEF FAO WFP

Food insecurity in South Sudan is on the rise, and children are among those worst affected. Photo: UNICEF.

20 Feb 2017

Famine declared in parts of South Sudan

Birungi Machrine

Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, where an estimated 100,000 people are already starving. 

“Famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive”, says Serge Tissot, FAO country representative in South Sudan.

According to the latest report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), famine is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern central part of the country.

The famine is being attributed to armed conflict, displacement, a missed cropping season and livestock raiding.

About 5 million people urgently need food, agricultural and nutritional assistance, according to the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF.

“The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million people at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to avert the spread of the food crisis,” the UN agencies warn.

Equally worrisome for the United Nations is the increasing threat of malnutrition, especially among children. According to a joint press release from the three UN agencies, as many as 275,000 are “severely malnourished children are at an elevated risk of dying if they are not immediately treated.”

In total, UNICEF plans to provide therapeutic and supplementary support to an estimated 1.1 million malnourished children.

Meanwhile, the government of South Sudan, through the chairperson of the National Bureau of Statistics, Isiah Chol, is asking humanitarian actors in South Sudan to scale up efforts to contain the deteriorating food security in the country.



The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, stresses the importance of unimpeded humanitarian access to facilitate delivery of assistance to the populations in need.

“We do have a challenge now, we need to respond,” Mr. Owusu says.