2nd Anniversary of South Sudan’s Independence: Tackling Food Insecurity

Eight years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the civil war and paved the path to peace and independence, the country still depends on humanitarian assistance. Out of an estimated 12 million population, over 50% live below the poverty line. For the last three years, more than 10% have been severely food insecure and 30% moderately food insecure [1].

Multiple humanitarian frontlines: linking relief and development
By the end of 2012, humanitarian assistance was being delivered in 52 of South Sudan’s 79 counties. Floods, displacement, armed insurgencies and internal fighting, high food prices and the closure of the border with Sudan have contributed to a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. In the Jonglei State, internal violence and insecurity have affected around 190,000 people. More than 170,000 refugees have fled to South Sudan from Sudan, due to ongoing violence in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states [2].

The refugees’ crisis in the West and North West and internal conflicts are creating multiple frontlines, challenging humanitarian actors to work on both emergencies and development needs.

Constraints on humanitarian access
Besides these multiple frontlines, the recent government’s policies towards humanitarian organizations (taxation, extortion, delays in custom clearances) have exacerbated the threats to humanitarian access within the country. As the rainy season is starting, up to 60% of the country might be cut off, including areas where Action against Hunger is working and where Sudanese refugees are living.

Overcoming food insecurity
Hunger and undernutrition are persistent and seasonally recurring in South Sudan, despite a strong agricultural potential. ACF is working in both Warrap and Northern Bahr El Gazal states, near the border with Sudan. Through nutrition, health, food security and wash projects, ACF is helping more than 350,000 beneficiaries.

“The largest project concerns nutrition treatment and health. We are also providing people with safe and clean water through 140 water points. Over 800 latrines have been built and 1,200 hygiene sessions were given” explains Sirak Mehari Weldemicael, ACF Country Director in South Sudan. “South Sudan’s nutritional challenges are enormous; we are closely working with international partners and the national Ministry of Health and we will continue to tackle the life savings needs by expanding treatment activities in new areas.”

[1] Toby Lanzer,South Sudan’s greatest humanitarian challenge: development,HPN
[2] Source : UN/OCHA


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