South Sudan pulled from famine, but not hunger-free yet

South Sudan is no longer in a state in famine, at least according to its official definition.

The U.N. emergency relief coordinator said that the country still needs to be watched closely. Although nobody in the country is starving, more and more people are on the brink of starvation.

The declaration of famine in February prompted aid to flow into the country. It was the first time famine had been declared anywhere in the country since 2011. Aid organizations aren’t happy with this way of doing things.

Nigel Timmins, Oxfam’s International’s humanitarian director, shared with the U.N. how the news still isn’t satisfying.

“What is appalling is that it took a threat of a famine to get significant international response. As a community we seem to have empowered famine declarations and this has led to some good results but it also seems to give the perception that anything before famine is acceptable—it isn’t,” he said.

As BBC reports, it is critical that funding does not slow down simply because the country is out of its previous famine levels of hunger. There is still a critical shortage of food, accompanied by drought and inflation that further drives the food shortage.

Two years after the creation of South Sudan, a move meant to create peace, the young nation erupted into a civil war. The war created blockages in the food supply that the country has yet to recover from.

Not only in South Sudan, but 20 million people in the world are still facing starvation. People in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen, are also suffering from severe food shortages.

The BBC reports that a famine is declared when:

  • At least 20 percent of the population has access to fewer than 2,100 kilocalories of food a day
  • Acute malnutrition affects more than 30 percent of children
  • Two deaths per 10,000 people, or four child deaths per 10,000 children occur every day