Aid organisation CARE Australia says a small window of opportunity exists to prevent more deaths from hunger and malnutrition in South Sudan.
Country Director for CARE International in South Sudan, Aimee Ansari, said that with South Sudan’s traditional period for harvesting to begin in early October, the hunger crisis was now entering a critical period that would determine whether tens of thousands of people would survive the next six months.
“Now is the time for the international community to ramp up efforts to get much-needed food, seeds and the tools for growing food across the country to ensure parents will have enough food to feed their badly malnourished children.”
The warning follows the release of a new Integrated Phase Classification report that states that around 1.5 million people are living in a food crisis (Phase 3) or food emergency (Phase 4).
However, in a sign of strong headway made to address the hunger crisis, the number of people in these critical categories has reduced by around 2.2 million people since May.
“These new figures are encouraging, and show that the international effort to address the world’s worst hunger crisis are beginning to pay off,” Ms Ansari said.
“Despite this progress, the threat of severe hunger still looms large here in South Sudan. If current trends continue, around 2.5 million people will be living in severe hunger by early 2015.”
“More than one in seven people are still starving or facing severe malnutrition.”
CARE is rapidly expanding its food assistance – getting seeds, tools and fishing equipment to thousands of families across South Sudan’s hardest-hit states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.
“We’ve already supported more than 300,000 people across South Sudan, with 24,000 of those people receiving food and livelihood assistance alone. But we desperately need more support to ensure we can expand our work at this critical juncture.”