Famine looms in South Sudan, says UN official

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Children on the road between Yambio and Maridi, Western Equatoria, South Sudan. UNMISS/JC McIlwaine

Famine looms in South Sudan where fighting continues between government forces and rebel fighters, according to a senior United Nations official in the country.

Toby Lanzer, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan says the situation is serious as the county is in the midst of a rainy season with many areas flooded making it difficult to reach people by road.

Mr. Lanzer points out that malnutrition rates are high in the new African country where thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict.

"Famine looms. At the end of this year or early next year there is every chance that we will see famine in South Sudan if the fighting doesn't stop. And already today we know that there are people who are dying because of hunger. We know that there are children who are very severely malnourished and we know that the agriculture season was largely disrupted in key states of the country because of the violence. We know that markets have collapsed and that cities have been destroyed." (29")

Toby Lanzer said the United Nations has mounted a large air operation using 35 air craft to deliver food to the people in need.

The UN humanitarian official said barges are also being used to move food from Juba up the River Nile to meet the needs of up to 3.8 million people in the affected areas of the country.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1'29"

 

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