Saving lives in famine and crisis hit South Sudan

Saving lives in famine and crisis hit South Sudan

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 50,000 children in South Sudan could die from starvation in 2014.

On July 25, the United Nations (UN) Security Council issued a statement, which called the escalating humanitarian crisis in the country as “catastrophic” and that “food insecurity in South Sudan is now the worst in the world.” Together with the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), JAM is currently storing and distributing 38, 000 tons of food destined to feed 694,000 people facing hunger and starvation.

The number of people needing emergency food relief is likely to rise, as the long-term effect of the conflict becomes more pronounced and food stocks diminish. The torrential rainy season (May – November) has further exacerbated and hampered relief efforts as large parts of the country are cut off and only reachable by airdrop. Experts agree that the multiple factors will combine to create a famine unseen on the continent for decades. The UN and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have estimated that 3.9 million people will be in desperate need of food aid this year.

The civil conflict that began in December 2013 quickly spread to over seven states and forced an estimated 1.5 million people to flee their homes in search of safety. Many of these people are living in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps, the largest of which is Mingkaman in Lakes State. JAM, with partners such as OXFAM, is currently feeding 120,000 people living in Mingkaman. Many of the IDPs living in the camps speak of trekking for days and weeks through the bush eating leaves, roots and flowers to survive.

The current situation necessitates a focus on emergency relief, as mandated by the country’s classification as an Emergency Operation (EMOP) by the WFP. As such JAM’s priority focus is on programmes that saves lives, specifically General Food Distribution (GFD), which is one of four programmes we implement in four states (Jonglei, Warrap, Lakes and Northern Bahr el Ghazal) in cooperation with the WFP. (For a full list of the programmes we implement,Having brought relief and development in South Sudan since 2001, JAM is acutely aware of the challenges faced and the needs of the people living there.

JAM is appealing to the international community to help further expand our capacity to deliver more lifesaving nutritional relief to those affected by the current crisis in South Sudan – the world’s youngest nation, having recently celebrated its third birthday on July 7.