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WFP warns more than 2.5 million will require food assistance in South Sudan

By World Food Program (WFP)
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NAIROBI, Kenya, December 15, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi:

“A gathering storm of hunger is approaching South Sudan, caused by crop failure and market disruption. Food prices have already doubled or tripled in some areas, leaving hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to malnutrition at a key developmental stage of their young lives.”

WFP Response in South Sudan:

WFP is scaling up its operation to support 2.7 million hungry and conflict-affected people in 2012. Crop failure following erratic rains has led to very high food prices, aggravated by conflict, market disruption from border closures and an increase in demand from returnees and displaced people. The national grain deficit is estimated at 400,000 metric tons in 2012, according to recent assessments by WFP and FAO;

To protect the minds and bodies of children in the first 1,000 days of life, WFP will provide highly fortified supplementary foods to more than 500,000 children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, as part of the operation;

Conflict and growing insecurity – particularly the use of landmines – is combining with already poor road infrastructure, to hinder humanitarian access;

Closures of the border between South Sudan and Sudan are disrupting the food trade, leading to shortages and high food prices in the border states of South Sudan, and affecting WFP's ability to replenish rapidly dwindling food stocks;

WFP urgently needs around US$92 million in order to address hunger needs in South Sudan in the first four months of 2012;

It is critical that WFP has these resources to move food into place before the end of March, since up to 60 percent of the country is cut off once the rainy season starts in March and April;

In addition to emergency assistance, WFP's operation in South Sudan in 2012 will help communities and families become more self-sufficient and productive through Food-for-Assets activities, while laying the groundwork for other projects to build longer-term resilience.