This article was last updated on May 26, 2022
Ms. Emma Jane Drew, country director of Oxfam South Sudan in an exclusive follow up interview on previous warnings of a looming famine in South Sudan, cites security, funding shortfalls and logistical challenges as the main hindrances to provide for IDPs and access all the needy people.
“The food situation in South Sudan is desperate. It is not only the people in areas affected by the conflict at risk,” says Ms. Drew. “It (food insecurity) is very vast but obviously, Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile and areas of Northern Barh el Ghazel state are the worst affected. We have to be on the alert for everywhere and ready to respond.”
Recently, aid agencies have been warning of famine unless the fighting is halted in order to make IDPs return home to farm for themselves before the end of the planting season.
The aid agencies need $1.8bilion but only $1.2billion has been raised in cash and pledges made during the recent Oslo Humanitarian Conference for South Sudan.
“There is a funding shortfall. All humanitarian actors are trying to fundraise in order to be able to continue rendering services for the IDPs,” she said.
“The humanitarian community is not able to access all the affected population due to insecurity and logistical challenges which is becoming more difficult due to more and more rains.”
Since South Sudan plunged into the internal armed conflict from the middle of December last year, the already precarious humanitarian situation, emanating from the bloody inter-communal clashes, the Yau Yau rebellion and the floods, has deteriorated further.
More than a million people have since been displaced, at least 10,000 lives have perished in just a little over six months of conflict and about four million people will be food insecure this year.
The situation overwhelms the humanitarian agencies given the shortfalls in funds. However, such aid agencies will have to brave themselves in feeding the internally displaced persons (IDPs) especially those in Mingkaman for a longer time than expected. Most of them are not in any hurry to return home.