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Coronavirus could worsen food insecurity-WFP warns

By Sheila ponnie

The World Food Program has warned that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) could worsen the already fragile food situation in the country.

 According to release earlier this year by the World Food Program (WFP) and Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 6.5 Million South Sudanese are expected to face severe food shortage this year 2020.

WFP Representative and Country Director, Matthew Hollingworth says the food security situation was no better today than projected. Adding that the food security situation has worsened.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is exerting additional pressure on an already fragile situation is expected to make another million and half people hungry, whilst the severity of those already food insecure will worsen,” WFP Representative and Country director Matthew Hollingworth said.

This came up during the handover of three (3) Amphibious Vehicles called SHERP to Food Agriculture Organization yesterday in Juba.

The Vehicles would facilitate the transportation of food assistance to areas that could only be accessed by air, cutting the Transport cost.

The Vehicles were believed to hold up to one (1) ton of cargo has low fuel consumption and can run for around 500km-600km on a full tank.

“The vehicles have allowed WFP to deliver food to places that have so far only has been reached to by air, cutting transport costs significantly to USD 450 per metric ton as opposed to the USD 2,400 spent for helicopter airlift,” Hollingworth said.

Hollingworth said that the World Food Organization and partners would need to provide more support to families and communities who in the past did not need their assistance.

“That means, more is expected from us at a time when the whole world is strained” said Hollingworth . He articulated that on top of the regular assistance to 5 million people, WFP would assist an additional 1.6million people mostly in urban areas who shall faced rising food needs linked to COVID-19.

“WFP has already started providing food or cash to 150,000 vulnerable people in Juba. To overcome the challenges of reaching them, WFP tried a new amphibious all-terrain vehicle, called SHERP, which can easily overcome any obstacle in its way, float and move out of the water,” he said.

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