Citizens find it hard to secure decent meal a day
By Ngor Khot Garang
The growing threat of coronavirus coupled with the worsening economic crisis blackens everyday lives of South Sudanese and has led to sharp increase in market prices leaving everyone bitten twice or thrice badly.
The great worry is when coronavirus continues to spread, which will make the boarders linking South Sudan to other East African countries closed. The virus is now confirmed in four African countries sharing boarders with South Sudan and this means there is looming hunger in the country because most of the country’s goods and other food items come from Uganda and Kenya.
“We have for years invested a lot in military arsenals and failed to develop our health systems. Now if the coronavirus is beyond the control of the great nations like United States and China, how is it going to be with African nations? said Billal, a medic at Hai Thora.
The US dollars on the hand continue to bite deep and the prices of the commodities are on the other side troubling the public. Many businesses have collapsed and many children can’t go to school due to high school fees. Families who used to get their support from friends and relatives abroad are left with nothing but worry about the future.
Some families struggle each day to put food on the table and thing becomes extremely hard. Five hundred South Sudanese pounds cannot buy soup let alone a kilo of maize flour. And for the disadvantaged society, the results could be hard to describe should the country be locked down.
Ayat Michael is a primary school teacher and a resident of Mauna, she said the situation of South Sudan is unbearable and when she can’t come to terms with the growing threat of the COVID1-19, her greater fear of the virus is where she would get food for her three children since she does not have a husband.
“I’m a single woman and my monthly salary, though it was not that much, was enough to buy food and pay for my children’s school fees. But now, the schools have been shut down over the fears of the virus and I am not sure whether we are still going to be paid from home,” she lamented.
Ayat’s dream was to send her three kids to a better school but the deteriorating situation of South Sudan and the surging coronavirus fear could not allow that.
“In everything I do, the future of my children was always the first priority but that dream is now farfetched given the current situation at hand. The fear of the virus that is said to have claimed many lives worldwide is not something easy to deal with, especially when you are a single mom”, She explained.
The continued threat by the virus and the rise in market prices did not only affect the citizens alone but the traders themselves.
Poni Lojo, a tomato seller at Konyokonyo market said her business is no longer what she had planned it to be when she started it.
“My business is not showing any sign of progress since I started it early this month. I buy tomatoes and other green vegetables with the aim of making profit but since the prices are high, the profit I make is too little and it is the money I used to pay my children’s school fees”, she said.
Poni believes if the leaders leave aside their personal differences and work together for peace, it would give way to economic growth and their businesses would gain the momentum.
“What we need is a complete peace because where there is peace, everything is possible. If the government solve outstanding issues then peace will come and definitely the economy will be strong,” she added.
Though a staunch Catholic believer, Poni fears talking about coronavirus and the chances of escaping the virus by people like her would be very slim.
“Unity and love is all that we need during these fateful times to fight this coronavirus. Let’s call on our God to blindfold this virus,” she added.
On February 22 when Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) was formed, many reports had it that the rate of US Dollars would come down and it surely does within few days but soared up again the other day, leaving the citizens wondering. This means a lot still needs to be done by the government to ensure that prices of goods in the market remain stable.