At a temporary nutrition clinic near the border with Sudan an estimated twenty thousand famine-hit South Sudanese emerged from the surrounding swamps on Saturday (February 25), to register for emergency rations.
Many had not eaten for days.
“Right here what we’ve seen is a lot of people coming from islands and saying they have not been eating well. They’ve been living on water lilies, they’ve been living on roots from weeds in the river, at most they eat once a day. It’s really tough conditions and we hope our regular and consistent humanitarian support in this area will be able to serve these people,” said World Food Coordinator George Fominyen.
They are caught up in the country’s civil war—hiding from roaming gunmen in the swamps and islands of the river Nile, unable to farm crops or earn money.
“At home, we don’t have enough food. We are in the war and we have many problems we have in our home. Now we need enough food, then we will solve our problems,” said one Sara David, a displaced woman.
Last week, the UN declared that parts of South Sudan are experiencing famine, the first time the world has faced such a disaster in six years—and the problem is largely man-made.
The world’s youngest country plunged into civil war in 2013 after a divide between the president and his deputy split the nation down ethnic lines.
Since then, inflation has soared up to 800 percent, and war and drought have paralyzed agriculture.
Many parts of the country are now inaccessible due to fighting.
The UN says 100,000 people face imminent starvation, and some 5.5 million people, almost half the population, will not have a reliable source of food by July.