Famine has been officially declared as people are dying from hunger in Sudan. The United Nations has said the situation is “desperate” in the Southern state.

Nearly 100,000 people are facing famine so serious that they are at risk of dying in the Southern Unity State of the country. One million people are currently on the border of famine and almost five million are in need of some type of humanitarian aid.

On February 22, 2017, the United Nations spoke out about the rising crisis of hunger in Sudan is leading to rising deaths. Five million South Sudanese do not have an adequate amount of food and that number is expected to rise. Over one million of those are severely malnourished children who are at immediate risk of dying.

South Sudan is a country of around 12 million people in Northern Africa. Around 80 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas, with more than 30 percent of the children under the age of five being undernourished. The average life expectancy is 55.7 years.

South Sudan became an independent nation from the Republic of Sudan in 2011 but has faced a civil war since 2013 that continues to this day. Many aid workers in the country have faced violence because of the ongoing war, with some even having been forced to leave the country.

The United Nations and its humanitarian partner organizations want to assist nearly six million people in 2017 in South Sudan, as well as other countries struggling with the same crises. The situation is expected to get worse in the coming months, due to the height of the lean season, if something is not done immediately. Emphasis has been placed on the fact that these types of issues are stemming from disputes, therefore they are preventable.

Some organizations working to provide aid for hunger in Sudan are UNICEF (The United Nations International Children’s Fund), FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Action Against Hunger, and WFP (The World Food Programme). These organizations work to provide a variety of types of support to those who are affected. UNICEF, focusing specifically on children, is working to provide treatment for children facing extreme malnutrition. FAO is working to make food more secure and to increase incomes. Action Against Hunger is working to provide emergency care and treatment. WFP is working to provide nutritious school meals, general nutritional support and provides money transfers for displaced people in need of food.

Shannon Elder

Photo: Flickr