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At least 20,000 face starvation in Aweil

By Moses Gum

About 28,000 people in Aweil State are food insecure, said the State Minister of Agriculture.

John Amar Akook said the residents were staring at serious starvation with some 275,000 in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), food crisis between May and July 2019.

Akook said the food gap has contributed to looming poverty and hunger in rural areas due to disruption of farming activities by seasonal rains.

He said the local population living in lowland areas could not get time to cultivate their farms due to floods, which prevented them from livelihood activities.

“Most of the civil population is severely affected by the year’s seasonal rain as there is flood in their farming lands. They could not do anything now for there is no alternative,” Amar stated.

The minister said he fears that there could be possibility of looming hunger as from the beginning of 2020 in his state.

Amar said his ministry is striving to improve agricultural production and development by introducing new farming techniques to reduce the shock.

The minister said for the last seven months, his ministry together with relief, humanitarian partners and NGOs working in the state managed to address some of the challenges.

“The NGOs like the World Vision run food security and livelihood program by distributing 17.101 MT of assorted food items to 3089 pupils in nine schools of Aweil East State. Unconditional general food distribution runs jointly by WFP and Samaritan Purse are also being delivered,” he explained.

Food for Assets program and Economics Recovery and Development Program are among activities being run in the state.

World Vision, Samaritan Purse, WFP, IRC. OFDA, IAS, VSF, CEDS, Save the Children and Empower Youth Africa among local organizations are offering services in the state.

“It is a great achievement to have agriculture inputs such as crops kits, seeds and tools being distributed to farmers in the state. This would increase production in the coming season,” Amar said.

The minister said prolonged dry spelt, flooding, high costs living, low livestock productivity due to diseases were the main challenges facing the area.

“There are many challenges facing our people especially lack of investment in agriculture and livestock sector due to insecurity,” he said adding, “Negative attitudes toward agriculture and livestock development and conflict between pastoralists and farmers over land use was also another challenges facing them.”

He reiterated that there was low involvement of private sector in agriculture and livestock development.

The minister called on the humanitarian partners to provide relief aid to the civil population.

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