United Nations agencies said on Thursday that two-thirds of South Sudan’s population could face severe food shortages during the lean season from April to July next year due to floods, drought and conflicts.
The shortages are worse than what the country experienced at the height of a civil war in 2013 and 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. Children’s Fund UNICEF and the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said.
“The decline in food security and high prevalence of malnutrition is linked to a combination of conflict, poor macroeconomic conditions, extreme climate events, and spiralling costs of food and fuel,” they said in a statement.
South Sudan erupted into civil war shortly after declaring independence from Sudan in 2011 and while a peace agreement signed four years ago is largely holding, the transitional government has been slow to unify various military factions.
The WFP in June said it was forced to suspend some food aid to South Sudan just as it was facing its “hungriest year” since independence. In August, the U.N. agencies estimated that 7.7 million suffered severe food shortages in the country in the April-July period between two harvests, Reuters agency reported.