By Loro Louis Yugu

I don’t understand what instrument does this giant international organisation called World Food Programe and many other NGOs use to identify those who are hungry. It is clear that hunger is looming in this country. Whoever is talking of ‘parts of the country’ is a liar. Media reports revealed clearly that almost half of the population in the country is hungry. What I don’t understand is why an NGO should segregate feeding hungry people.

Some areas in this country are well-fed by the food aid organisations while others are totally neglected. Humanitarian NGOs should know that there has been poor harvest this year because of a drought like condition especially in the months of September and October this year. That means even those living in areas that are not hit by the war deserve relief aid.

The population living in this country comprises of the Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs], the Host Community, village or town residents, those living in the UN Protection of Civilians’ [PoC] sites, street children, and many others.

It is indeed clear that the WFP and other NGOs tend to deal with IDPs and those living in PoCs only. The host community is totally neglected amidst warning by UN earlier in October that over six million people in South Sudan were in crisis levels of hunger and that over 47,000 were enduring famine.

Currently, millions of civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict that has profoundly affected many lives of South Sudanese.

The UN had reported that one in two people do not know where their next meal is coming from; 40 per cent of the entire population is displaced in and outside the country; two out of three pregnant or breastfeeding women suffer from acute nutritional deficiencies; more than two million children are out of school; and only one in ten people has access to basic sanitation.

This is the general situation in the country where we are all in the bracket of the looming hunger. The citizens are already in fear as the year 2019 approaches.

That clearly means there is need to immediately deliver food to all counties in South Sudan to curtail the hunger situation. This is because most of the counties especially in Jubek State this year have seen poor harvest caused by either insecurity, sun heat or pests like the Fall Army worm. Sometimes the local farmers are disturbed by cattle keepers who just leave their animals to destroy crops. These challenges should be the yardstick for humanitarian organisations to deliver relief assistance. It is not fair for a humanitarian assistance to be limited for a section of the population when the level of food crisis in the country is upsetting.

While the citizens wait for the outcome of the Comprehensive Agriculture Master Plan (CAMP) and Irrigation Development Master Plan [IDMP] that was launched by the government and its partners last year and echoed this year during the World Food Day, humanitarian agencies should conduct surveys in all counties and the IDPs’ host communities to accurately scale up charitable assistance.

Although there are some areas that can at least access a meal a day, the nutrition level is acute. Such areas need nutritious blend to sustain lives.

There are many areas that need nutritious supplies in South Sudan especially in the Upper Nile region which were not accessible by aid agencies or not surveyed for food assistance.

Latest findings by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPS] indicates that more than half the population of South Sudan faces severe food shortages. The report focuses on food insecurity for the remainder of the year and the first quarter of 2019. This is a threat to humanity in the country because by 2019 there would be many hungry mouths. And that needs the humanitarian aid agencies to scale up efforts in identifying areas that need urgent nutritious food supplies.

Despite the fact that there are still several hard-to-reach areas, contrary to that easy to reach areas are equally facing severe food shortages. These easy to reach areas are found even within the vicinity of Jubek state and some parts of Yei River state, Torit state, Kapoeta and many other states.

Such areas just need coordination with the grassroots authorities to assess the level of food crisis for assistance.

Following this trend, the writer has seen with sympathy how some families are battling with the constantly skyrocketing food prices amidst poor weather conditions that do not support subsistence farming. It includes even the populace within the vicinity of Juba as the national Capital. The host communities are equally bearing the wraths of the five year old war.

Hence, the humanitarian aid agencies should not focus on specific areas. They should cooperate with the grassroots authorities to deliver food aid to all the needy citizens. Long live the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan and the people of South Sudan.

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