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Authorities in Boma State say famine is looming 

A woman waiting for WFP distribution registration in Nyal, Panyijar County/ photo by Oxfam

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

Over 25,000 people in Boma State are facing severe food crisis with some on the brink of famine, the state Minister of Information Peek Konyi has said.

Mr. Konyi said half of the state population was in food crisis including returnees who recently come back from the neighboring Ethiopia.

Speaking to the press yesterday from Boma State, Mr. Konyi said that the returnees in Pochalla and Jebel Boma Counties lack basic needs such as food, health service and drinking water as most of the boreholes in the state had broken down during the war.

”We have influx of refugees who were displaced to Ethiopia during the 2013 conflict and now they are coming back. They have not received any humanitarian aid since their return,” he said.

He stressed that the residents of Pochalla and Jebel Boma were suffering describing the situation as “alarming”

Nyinginga Okano Kiro, the Director for Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) in Boma state said that they have registered at least 1, 000 households in greater Pochalla and 7, 000 others in Jebel Boma County.

”Since February we have registered 8,000 households in Pochalla and Jebel Boma Counties. These people completely lack food, water and access to medical services,” Kiro stressed.

He said that there was need for all the partners operating in the country to assist in securing the condition of food crisis in Boma state.

”We are appealing to the humanitarian organizations in the country for urgent assistance. Our people are in critical condition. People are falling ill from eating grass and weeds,

” Kiro said.

On Monday Oxfam, one of the humanitarian organizations working in the country has called for urgent action to prevent millions of people being hit by famine in South Sudan.

The warning follows a report last week from the Famine Early Warning Network (FEWSNET) which said that a fifth of households in Pibor could already be classed as hitting famine levels of hunger. Four years of conflict have depleted food stocks and severely weakened the ability of communities across the country to withstand shocks.

Oxfam said Pibor, which sits in Boma state in the east of the country, has also seen food availability plummet after pests and flooding destroyed harvests. As the rainy season sets in, much of the food people depend on has to be flown in from Juba, making it unaffordable for many.

Last year the government and United Nations agencies declared famine in parts of South Sudan. A massive aid effort helped save lives and averts an even greater crisis but with a last year’s poor harvest and this year’s not due at least until July, South Sudan is facing catastrophe again, according to the statement released by Oxfam.

 

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