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Off 6M death bracket, Gov’t, UN report

Leer and Mayendit counties of former Unity state which were earlier declared famine hot-spots are now free zones and the expected six million death toll has reduced according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released by the Government and the United Nations on Wednesday.
“Famine no longer exists in Leer and Mayendit Counties, and further deterioration was prevented in Koch and Panyijar counties of former Unity state as a result of immediate and sustained multi-sector humanitarian assistance delivered to the affected population since March, 2017, said Isaiah Chol Aruai, chairperson National Bureau of statistics.
However, the IPC report noted that the situation still remained dire across the country as a good number of people are still struggling to meet their daily meal as opposed to the initial number which had grown up to six million people from 4.9 million in February-the highest level of food insecurity ever experienced in the country.
The IPC updated report on the status of food security and nutrition situation in the country was prepared by the government through its National Bureau of Statistics, and UN agencies including the World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Children Fund and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
“The immediate and sustained humanitarian response had helped in preventing further deterioration of famine,” said WFP country representative, Joyce Luma. She said efforts should continue to help prevent a slip into the situation.
According to the UN agencies and the government, about 45,000 people will still be faced with humanitarian catastrophe in Leer, Koch, and Mayendit counties of former Unity state, and Ayod of former Jonglei state.
The UN agencies warned that over 45,000 people in former Unity and Jonglei states are still experiencing catastrophic conditions and face prospects of starvation if humanitarian assistance is not sustained. This includes 25,000 people in former Unity state and 20,000 people in Jonglei where the situation had rapidly deteriorated due to the conflict.
“We have to continue otherwise we could go back, Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF South Sudan Country representative said.
He said the country should find a long-term solution to prevent starvation and famine, since what they were doing was of short nature. “There is no solution in South Sudan without peace, humanitarian response is temporary, the long term solution is peace and reconstruction,” Mdoe said.
According to IPC report, worsening conditions were seen across the country; with the number of people facing emergency levels of hunger noted at 1.7 million up from 1 million in February.
Serge Tissot, FAO Country Representative said FAO had provided fishing, crop and vegetable growing kits to more than 2.8 million people, including 200,000 in the famine affected areas, and vaccinated more than six million livestock.
Mdoe said UNICEF together with other partners treated more than 76,000 children with severe malnutrition and also provided over 500,000 people with clean water and a further 200,000 people with access to sanitation facilities.
Aruai added that the government and its humanitarian partners are working to ensure timely and functional food security and nutrition information systems to ensure early warning of impending shortfall.
Famine can only be declared where very specific conditions are not met. At least 20 percent of families in areas faced by extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope with acute malnutrition rates exceeding 30 percent, and the death rate per day exceed two adults out of every 100,000 in the population.

By Jale Richard

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