Dwindling resources amidst growing needs have forced humanitarian agencies to prioritize the delivery of vital life-saving support which risks leaving millions behind, the United Nations warned today. All life-saving sectors including health, nutrition, and food security are affected leaving millions of vulnerable people without critical support in a time of crisis.
For food security alone, there are 7.76 million people who face critical, emergency, and catastrophic levels of need, yet resourcing shortfalls mean emergency food assistance must be prioritized for 3.2 million people who face the highest levels of food insecurity. This prioritization of resources is a famine prevention approach, where communities closest to starvation must receive assistance. However, even for communities on the brink of famine, resourcing constraints mean they receive reduced rations for seven or eight months of the year, usually to protect them when access to food resources are the most challenging which is January to July each year.
“These are not easy decisions to make, and WFP’s priority is to save as many lives as possible,” said Makena Walker, Acting Country Director for the World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan. “Our emergency food assistance, known as the Lean Season Response, for 2023 was completed at the end of August in most locations. “We have worked closely with the Government of South Sudan to ensure we’re reaching communities most in need of assistance. The simple fact is that there are not enough resources available to the humanitarian community to meet the needs in South Sudan,” she added. Extreme levels of food insecurity and malnutrition affect two-thirds of South Sudan’s population, making the country one of the worst food insecurity emergencies in the world. Many people who are highly foodinsecure are in locations with chronic vulnerabilities worsened by frequent climate-related shocks, macroeconomic crisis, conflict and insecurity and low agricultural production.
“Vulnerable people in South Sudan suffered multiple interconnected shocks for years. The outlook for these people is grim with new crises unfolding while humanitarian agencies struggle to meet basic needs,” said Peter Van der Auweraert, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator. The crisis in Sudan triggered an overwhelming influx of refugees, returnees and third-country nationals further aggravating the already fragile humanitarian situation in South Sudan. All humanitarian interventions including protection of women and girls, food, nutrition, and shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, education experience this funding gap.
The rising needs and funding shortfalls are driving prioritisation of humanitarian assistance across South Sudan. The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan which requests US$1.7 billion to target 6.8 million people with life-saving assistance and protection services is funded only at 46 per cent as of 5 September. More than $300 million is also urgently needed to provide most vital support to people fleeing the Sudan crisis into South Sudan.
“It is vital that life-saving assistance continues while investment in long-term resilience-building initiatives is scaled up,” said the Acting Humanitarian Coordinator. “With international humanitarian funding expected to continue to decline, it is even more important for the Government of South Sudan to accelerate and increase its investments in basic services and support for sustainable solutions to address people’s basic needs across the country,” he added.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of OCHA South Sudan.