The World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday warned that this year’s heavy flooding has destroyed harvest in the most affected parts of South Sudan, which is worsening the already dire food security situation caused by years of conflict.
South Sudan’s WFP country director, Mathew Hollingworth, said that the country is currently facing an additional crisis because of the flooding that took place this year, which affected nearly 800,000 people.
Holligworth told journalists in the capital Juba that “The WFP clearly is responding to that flooding already at the moment. We have supported 600,000 people who were affected by this year’s floods. Clearly, the impact of the flooding is not only immediate. It is going to have a lasting impact on many communities as the unprecedented level of flooding is changing the way water systems in South Sudan work.”
“We should have seen in many parts of the country particularly, those areas of the country that people were living on the Nile or the Sobat basin. In those areas, people should have already harvested the food that will keep them healthy for the next five or six months to come but many of those communities have not been able to harvest anything thing this year,” he said.
The UN agencies have warned earlier this year that 6.5 million people, nearly half of the population, were expected to face severe food insecurity at the height of the May to July annual hunger season.
Hollingworth disclosed that the flooding will have a longer-term impact on communities, adding that the UN will continue supporting the displaced or communities that have lost their entire harvest.
However, he said that “it all depends on our ability to have consistent access to those areas and there are areas of the country where sub-national conflict is hampering our ability to effectively and consistently provide support over the last months.”
In October, WFP’s boat convoy carrying food assistance en route to Melut and Malakal areas was attacked around Shambe North area, leaving one aid worker killed.
Hollingworth noted that armed attacks on humanitarian workers were hindering humanitarian access to those in need and the UN is deeply concerned about the attacks.
The WFP official has revealed that they have called on all parties to respect humanitarian workers wherever they are working in the country to enable them to do their work unhindered.
“There is an accumulation of shocks that communities have faced including this year’s floods, COVID-19, and an economic crisis that has in fact impacted COVID-19 as well. With all of these things happening at the same time, conflict and violence will stop us from being able to help people immediately,” said Hollingworth.
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