South Sudan is facing the most severe food crisis in the world. Violent conflict that began in December 2013 has displaced over 1.7 million people, destroyed trade, and fueled disruption at every level of society. As a result, 4 million people currently need emergency food assistance, 50,000 children could die by December, and a famine could be declared by January 2015.
After eight months of humanitarian response, however, only one-third of civilians in need of assistance have received it. This is in part because the humanitarian appeal is only 51% funded and more lifesaving assistance is desperately needed. But it is also due to the way in which the international community is responding. So what can we be doing differently?
Mercy Corps argues that the humanitarian response cannot be confined to direct-delivery assistance alone. Market-based interventions to re-stimulate local market systems are needed immediately in order to prevent a famine by January 2015, and lay the foundations for early recovery.