UN humanitarians report that the number of people in need of urgent aid in South Sudan has now increased to 8.3 million, from 7.5 million in 2020.
South Sudan, a landlocked country, has a total population of just over 11 million.
Years of conflict, climate change and now Covid-19 for the hike are some of the factors that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) blames for the rise in the numbers.
Among those in need are refugees and asylum seekers numbering 310,000.
“Conflict, insecurity and natural disasters have displaced nearly four million people since 2013,” the office said.
The rate of hunger in the country is steadily growing, with more than 7.2 million people projected to be severely food insecure during 2021, it said in a release. Some of the communities in the country face “catastrophic levels of food insecurity”.
“The already serious humanitarian situation has been compounded by severe flooding, affecting approximately 1 million people each year in 2019 and 2020. The South Sudanese people also continue to be highly vulnerable to epidemic diseases, due to low immunisation coverage, a weak health system and poor hygiene and sanitation.”
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people has been quite devastating and socio-economically multi-faceted.
UN humanitarians said some of the challenges faced include but are not limited to economic contractions, spikes in commodity prices, loss of livelihoods, particularly in urban areas, increased protection risks and disrupted access to basic services.
South Sudan only gained independence in 2011, making the African country one of the countries in the world.
Although the country is richly blessed in oil, South Sudan is one of the poorer nations in the world, ranking 157 out of 194 countries or territories in the International Monetary Fund’s 2020 estimate of the World Economic Outlook.
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