Millions in South Sudan could be "driven to brink of catastrophe" if peace fails

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An internally displaced woman seeking refuge from the ongoing violence in the swamps of Unity state, cooks her last supply of sorghum. Photo: FAO South Sudan

Millions of people facing hunger in South Sudan will be “driven to the brink of catastrophe” if the peace process fails, the UN food agency FAO warns.

Over 4.8 million people are severely food insecure and malnutrition rates are rampant, the agency says.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General met with African leaders on the margins of an African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali to discuss the situation in the country.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

South Sudan is already in dire straits with half the nation's population facing hunger, according to a recent FAO assessment.

The report also projects severe food shortages in the country over the months to come.

If peace does not hold, FAO country representative Serge Tissot notes, the situation could get "much, much worse".

A ceasefire declared on 12 July seems to be holding following days of fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his deputy.

While in Kigali for an AU Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with several African leaders to discuss the situation.

He informed them of his suggestions to the Security Council earlier in the week.

Mr Ban asked the world body in charge of peace and security to reinforce the UN mission in the country (UNMISS), implement an arms embargo and impose targeted sanctions against those responsible for the fighting.

In a meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Mr Ban referred to the "demilitarization of Juba" as a way of sustainably restoring security in the capital.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06”



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