S. Sudan at risk as COVID-19 pandemic coincides with lean season: Aid group warns

A woman dries dead locusts in the Equatoria region /Photo: File
A woman dries dead locusts in the Equatoria region /Photo: File

May 13, 2020 (Thessherald)–An aid organization working in the field of disaster management, Care International, warned on Tuesday that South Sudan is on the verge of facing possible food insecurity as the COVID-19 pandemic and the lean season coincide.

“As South Sudan has seen a spike in the number of coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, with numbers rising to 156 as of today, the population of the world’s youngest country is also facing potential risks with the upcoming lean season.”

The humanitarian agency projected that millions of people are on the brink of facing food insecurity as a direct result of different factors, including prevailing inter-communal violence and recent locust invasions.

“This, combined with intercommunal fighting and locust invasions in parts of the country, is likely to push millions into even more extreme food insecurity and makes them more vulnerable to water-borne and other diseases.”

Mercy Laker, CARE South Sudan Deputy Country Director-Programs says “This pandemic is also coinciding with the start of the lean season in South Sudan. There is still a real worry that the measures taken to suppress the spread of coronavirus run the risk of disrupting livelihood activities, delaying access to food assistance, and placing additional strain on poor households’ abilities to buy food, seeds and other essentials. They risk having a particularly bad effect on the urban poor and those living in displacement sites.”

“Over 6 million people – over half the population – are currently suffering from severe food insecurity. This is the worst the country has seen since its independence in 2011,” Care warned.

The recent UN Global Report on Food Crises ranked South Sudan among one of the five countries most at risk of famine in 2020.

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