By Deng Machol
Juba – The World Food Program (WFP) warned that it will suspend food assistance for more than 100,000 displaced people in parts of South Sudan for three months from October due to funding shortages this year.
The UN food agency said while generous contributions from donors have enabled WFP to reach millions in need with lifesaving assistance, many vulnerable people living in crisis areas continue to suffer from the highest levels of food insecurity and cannot survive without sustained food assistance.
Over 106,000 people displaced in camps in Wau, Juba and Bor South will not receive monthly food rations due to funding crunch for the next three months and until the new year, according to the WFP.
The agency further said it will resume its monthly food assistance for internally displaced people in those camps from January to September 2022.
“Drastic times call for drastic measures. We are forced to take these painful decisions and stretch our limited resources to meet the critical needs of people who were on the brink of starvation and now risk slipping back into catastrophe if their access to food diminishes,” said Matthew Hollingworth, Representative and Country Director of WFP in South Sudan, in the press statement issued in Juba on Monday.
He said the UN food agency requires an additional 154 million U.S. dollars to provide food assistance in sufficient quantities.
“If funding levels continue to drop, we may have no choice but to make further cuts as the needs of vulnerable communities continue to outpace available resources,” said Hollingworth.
The WFP representative said the three-month suspension is part of a broader reduction in food assistance that the WFP announced in April across all camps that affects 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people who now receive half the caloric contents of a WFP food ration.
Food insecurity in South Sudan has increased in the last few years and now affects more than 60 percent of the country’s population, according to the UN.
This situation was blighted by the current conflict and climate change (floods) in the restive country.
The revitalized peace agreement signed by the warring parties September 2018 has marked the three years without unified forces, not ending the 2013 political conflict which has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes, before ruined the economy in the East Africa’s youngest nation.