The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) cut off its food assistance to South Sudanese because of fund shortage, increasing the risks of starvation for 1.7 million people.
Cutting food assistance would affect 178,000 children, who would stop receiving daily school meals.
WFP stated that it needed $426 million to provide food assistance to six million people in 2022, but the organization’s humanitarian programs have been “drastically underfunded this year.”
WFP said it had exhausted all its options before suspending the food assistance. WFP added it had reduced food assistance by half in 2021.
The organization said reducing food assistance would be inevitable unless WFP receives more funding.
WFP said it would use its limited assistance to support 4.5 million people under severe hunger conditions across 52 regions of South Sudan.
The UN’s suspension of food assistance to South Sudanese would leave families to skip or reduce meals, sell their assets, use child labor, and resort to child marriage.
WFP reported that food insecurity had increased in South Sudan this year. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projected that 7.74 million people would experience acute hunger between June and August. IPC also assessed that 1.4 million children could face malnourishment.
“Humanitarian needs are far exceeding the funding we have received this year. If this continues, we will face bigger and more costly problems in the future, including increased mortality, malnutrition, stunting, and disease,” said Adeyinka Badejo, Acting Country Director of the World Food Programme in South Sudan.
WFP planned to support six million South Sudanese this year with food assistance, cash stipends, and livelihood opportunities.
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