Global organization Mercy Corps calls on all parties to recommit to peace efforts
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – With the hunger season in South Sudan expected to begin three months earlier than usual, the global organization Mercy Corps is warning that households are already running out of food, threatening starvation and even death.
Four years of conflict has left just under half the population of South Sudan - 4.8 million people – severely food insecure. The number of people categorized in “Level 4”, the phase before famine, has doubled year over year; more than one million children face acute malnourishment.
As the second phase of the South Sudanese peace talks resumes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week, Mercy Corps urges all parties to the conflict to work together to prevent further devastation.
“In March, the hunger season will bring starvation to more families than ever before, and we could see famine return to South Sudan,” says Francesco Lanino, Acting Country Director for Mercy Corps in South Sudan. “The parties to the conflict must commit to peace in order to help us reach those most affected and end suffering in the country.”
Mercy Corps’ response to the crisis in South Sudan encompasses water provision and hygiene support to stave off disease, emergency education and school feeding for children, and the distribution of seeds, tools and fishing supplies as part of its famine response.
The organization also addresses the root causes of violence and conflict through the social and economic reintegration of young boys and girls, including those formerly associated with armed groups.
In addition to sparking life-threatening food insecurity across the country, violent conflict has forced more than two million people to flee to neighboring countries.
“We know that the South Sudanese people want peace. We now need the leaders to show they are also committed to a peaceful South Sudan,” says Lanino.
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