The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is appealing for $120 million to deal with a hunger emergency as families fleeing fighting in Sudan cross the border to South Sudan.
Almost all of those who have crossed the border since fighting broke out in Sudan in mid-April are South Sudanese and they are returning to a country already facing dire humanitarian needs.
Fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) over a planned transition to civilian control has ravaged Khartoum raising concerns that Sudan could be plunged into a prolonged civil war.
New data gathered by 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.
A new food security assessment completed by WFP shows that 90% of returnee families are experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity and almost 20% 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,” Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan, said.
“We simply do not have the resources to provide life-saving assistance to those who need it most.”
Across South Sudan, WFP has a funding gap of $536 million over the next six months and was only able to reach 40% of those in need of food assistance in 2023. Those who are receiving assistance only receive half rations due to funding shortfalls.
The rainy season has made conditions at crowded transit centres and border crossings even more difficult, with flooding worsening food insecurity and contributing to the spread of disease.
(Editing by Seban Scaria firstname.lastname@example.org )