from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – A HUNGER emergency is looming on the border between South Sudan and Sudan.
Hordes of families are fleeing the fighting in Sudan cross the border daily.
New data gathered by the World Food Programme (WFP) shows that among the nearly 300 000 people who have arrived in South Sudan in the last five months, one in five children are malnourished and 90 percent of families say they are going multiple days without eating.
Almost all of those who have crossed the border since fighting broke out in Sudan in mid-April are South Sudanese. They are returning to a country already facing unprecedented humanitarian needs.
A new food security assessment completed by WFP shows that 90 percent of returnee families are experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity.
Screening data from the border crossing found that almost 20 percent of children under five and more than a quarter of pregnant and breastfeeding women are malnourished.
“We are seeing families leave one disaster for another as they flee danger in Sudan only to find despair in South Sudan,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan.
She said the humanitarian situation for returnees was unacceptable and WFP is struggling to meet the mounting humanitarian needs at the border.
“We simply do not have the resources to provide life-saving assistance to those who need it most,” McGroarty said.
The rainy season has made conditions at crowded transit centres and border crossings even more difficult. Flooding is worsening food insecurity and contributing to the spread of disease.
Families report being robbed and experiencing violence as they escaped the war in Sudan.
WFP urgently requires more than US$120 million to increase support for people fleeing Sudan’s war into South Sudan over the next few months.
Significant resources are also needed to help people move onwards from the crowded border area.
WFP has a funding gap of $536 million over the next six months and has only been able to reach 40 percent of food insecure people with food assistance in 2023.
– CAJ News