The government of South Sudan declared a famine on Monday, with humanitarian agencies warning that unless there is a sharp increase in aid, hundreds of thousands of people, including 275,000 children, are at risk of starving to death.
The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan said 100,000 people "are already starving," and in some parts of Unity state in the northern part of the country, more than 30 percent of the population suffers from acute malnutrition. After three years of war, this famine is "man-made," Joyce Luma, country director for the World Food Program in South Sudan, told the Los Angeles Times, adding that until there is peace and security, "there is only so much that humanitarian assistance can achieve." The war has disrupted agriculture, and farmers are suffering; having lost their tools and livestock, many are now living off of the plants they can find and fish they can catch.
The Integrated Food Security report says that nearly 5 million people in South Sudan are facing dire hunger or starvation, and that number will likely rise to 5.5 million by midyear. South Sudan isn't the only country in dire need of assistance — the U.S. Famine Early Warning Systems Network recently reported that this year, 70 million people across 45 countries will need food aid, and there is famine in parts of Nigeria and threatened in Yemen and Somalia, which is experiencing its worst drought in decades.
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