JUBA – The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is cutting food rations for refugees and internally displaced persons in the country due to significant funding gaps.
Rations will be reduced starting this month, affecting nearly 700,000 refugees and internally displaced persons who are now on 50 percent of a full ration, down from 70 percent. A full ration provides 2,100 kilocalories per person and 50 percent is 1,050 kilocalories.
“It is a very painful decision to take from the hungry to give to the starving, but that is the reality. With the alarming rise in food insecurity in remote locations, WFP is forced to reduce the size of its rations in some communities, including refugees and internally displaced persons, which are in a less precarious situation, ”said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP representative and country director for South Sudan.
WFP’s resources in South Sudan are tight at a time when food insecurity is highest in a decade and donors are grappling with the economic impact of COVID-19.
“We must try to save the lives of those who face famine during the lean season if they do not receive enough support. The WFP simply does not have enough resources to provide full rations to all those in South Sudan who depend on our help to survive, ”said Hollingworth.
WFP needs $ 125 million in food aid over the next six months to provide sufficient food, including larger rations for refugees and displaced persons
The population groups affected include around 440,000 internally displaced persons in Bentiu, Bor, Juba, Malakal, Mingkaman and Wau as well as almost 260,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Sudan who depend on the support of the WFP meet most of them their nutritional needs.
“We know how hard it is for vulnerable people who struggle every day to survive and to care for their children. With the introduction of these cuts, the WFP ensures that all refugees and displaced persons continue to receive our food aid, albeit in smaller amounts. “
These cuts are likely to result in higher rates of malnutrition and anemia, stunted growth in children, and people resorting to survival strategies. People struggling to get their basic food needs manage by skipping or cutting back meals, borrowing high interest rates, selling assets, and engaging in child labor. There is also often increased domestic violence when people find themselves in this situation.
WFP will not reduce food aid for mothers and children who are refugees or internally displaced persons. WFP offers particularly nutritious foods for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition in pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as in children between six months and two years of age.
Notes to Editors: Food Security in South Sudan
Food insecurity in South Sudan is alarmingly high in 2021. The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment warned that at the height of the lean season in July, 7.24 million people will suffer severe acute hunger, while 1.4 million children will be acutely malnourished.
The WFP is prioritizing 10 hard-to-reach districts where food insecurity is very high and people are in need or in catastrophic hunger. These include: Pibor, Akobo, Tonj Nord, Tonj Süd, Tonj Ost, Aweil Süd, Bor Süd, Twic Ost, Duk and Ayod.
Vulnerable communities with severe food insecurity in locations rated at the IPC Crisis Level need continued support to stop getting hungrier during the lean season of May through September.
A WFP food ration includes grains, legumes, vegetable oil, and salt.
Each year, WFP reaches more than five million insecure people in South Sudan with food aid, nutrition assistance, cash grants and livelihoods to build community resilience and prioritize the most vulnerable and conflict-affected women, children and the elderly.
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The United Nations World Food Program is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization that saves lives in emergencies and uses food aid to create a path to peace, stability and prosperity for people who have come to terms with conflicts, disasters and the effects of climate change recover.
For more information, please contact (email address: first [email protected]):
Musa Mahadi, WFP / Juba South Sudan +211 922 559 505, [email protected]
Peter Smerdon, WFP / Nairobi, Kenya Mob. +254 707 722 104, [email protected]