UN’s WFP ends food aid to parts of South Sudan as funds run dry

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The United Nations World Food Program is suspending assistance to a third of those it planned to support this year in South Sudan as the East African nation faces its worst hunger crisis since independence in 2011.

The lack of funding may heighten the risk of starvation for 1.7 million people, the organization said in an emailed statement.

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“Humanitarian needs are far exceeding the funding we have received this year,” Adeyinka Badejo, acting country director of the WFP in South Sudan said. “If this continues, we will face bigger and more costly problems in the future, including increased mortality, malnutrition, stunting, and disease.”

Conflict in the country, severe flooding and localized droughts have made about 60 percent of the population food insecure and the situation has been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and currency depreciation, which has sent prices of wheat, cooking oil and other staples soaring.

Some 7.7 million people will face severe hunger in the next three months and 1.4 million children will be malnourished, the UN agency warned. The program needs $426 million to reach those in need through 2022, the WFP said.

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