Over 100,000 people are staring hunger in the face following the suspension of food assistance by the World Food Program (WFP) in South Sudan, the UN agency warned Monday.
The WFP said that due to funding shortfall from donors it will start suspending monthly food rations starting in October until next year for 106,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Wau and Bor areas as well as in the capital Juba.
“Drastic times call for drastic measures,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP country director in South Sudan.
“We are forced to take these painful decisions and stretch our limited resources to meet the critical needs of people who were on the brink of starvation and now risk slipping back into catastrophe if their access to food diminishes.”
He noted that despite having provided life-saving support this year to millions of people in dire need, many vulnerable people living in crisis areas continue to suffer from the highest levels of food insecurity and cannot survive without sustained food assistance.
“If funding levels continue to drop, we may have no choice but to make further cuts as the needs of vulnerable communities continue to outpace available resources,” said Hollingworth.
Hollingworth said that WFP requires an additional $154 million within the next four months to enable it to provide food assistance in sufficient quantities.
It said that the three-month suspension of food assistance is part of a broader reduction in food assistance that WFP announced in April across all camps.
Those to be affected include 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people who now receive half the caloric contents of a WFP food ration.
A full ration provides 2,100 kilocalories per person and includes cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, and salt.
It further noted that food insecurity in South Sudan has increased in the last few years and currently affects more than 60% of the country’s population.