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Food security is essential for human life

Bullen Chol
Humanitarian aid is the only way to survive for the South Sudanese population living in protection camps. This aid, however, is reducing despite efforts by humanitarian partners to fill the gap.
20.12.2019  |  Juba, South Sudan
A woman dividing the maize she received as monthly food ration in the Mahad IDP centre in Juba, South Sudan. (photo: The Niles | Bullen Chol)
A woman dividing the maize she received as monthly food ration in the Mahad IDP centre in Juba, South Sudan. (photo: The Niles | Bullen Chol)

More than 6.35 million people – 54 percent of the South Sudanese population – were severely food insecure in August, despite large scale humanitarian assistance, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis released jointly by three United Nations agencies and the Government in September.

South Sudan’s civil war has uprooted over four million people from their homes, both internally and externally, forcing them to seek shelter within the country and across neighbouring states.

My children and I cannot survive without food.”

A September United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) update said about 180,366 people were seeking shelter at civilian protection sites across the country.

The report added that the UN agencies, and other humanitarian partners, are collaborating to support the needy with over 15,000 metric tonnes of food and nutrition assistance.

Tens of thousands of citizens living in Juba’s temporary camps rely on this life-saving aid. Despite this massive humanitarian effort, food is often not enough.

Monthly food rations distributed in the Mahad IDP centre in Juba

The Mahad site hosts a population of 3,423, about 1,200 households, mostly, women and children and elderly depending on monthly humanitarian aid.

Twenty-six-year-old Sarah Juan lives here, and she is a mother of six children. She said the monthly ratio had been cut compared to 2014, at the height of the crisis.

“I only received 10.5 kilograms of maize, 1.5 kilograms of beans and 0.63 litres of cooking oil, for a month, which cannot feed us for this number of days. Sometimes it does not even come on time. My children and I cannot survive without food,” Juan said.

Mach Nhial, one of the camp leaders, said the drastic decline in food ratios is worrying and alarming amid an economic crisis that spurs high prices of food commodities.

“Last year, the matrix for the food distribution was 15 kilograms per individual, but this year, it has decreased. So, this is the situation we are undergoing. The food is not enough,” Nhial said.

The food is not enough.”

But there is hope. In parts of the country that have been relatively secure, the availability of seasonal harvests from September has slightly improved the overall outlook.

Between September and December 2019, 4.54 million people – 39 percent of the population in South Sudan – are projected to be severely food insecure.

This article is part of:
We are what we eat
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