Despite over 70% of the country’s land is suitable for cultivation, 60% of South Sudanese face a food crisis.
Over 7.7 million South Sudanese, or roughly 63% of the population, are suffering a food crisis as the country’s conflict worsens, the government and UN announced Saturday.
The amount represents a 7% increase above the level published last year.
According to the joint study, which was released to the press on Saturday, climatic shocks such as floods and droughts, as well as population displacement, are contributing to rising food insecurity and continued armed conflict.
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has been plagued by chronic instability since attaining independence in 2011, spending almost half of its existence at war.
In 2013, the nation descended into a five-year civil war between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and opposition veteran Riek Machar.
The battle claimed almost 400,000 lives and displaced millions.
Two years ago, the two leaders created a unity government, solidifying a 2018 peace pact that brought the violence to an end.
However, South Sudan has lurched from crisis to crisis since then, suffering floods, starvation, warfare, and political wrangling as the peace agreement’s promises have failed to materialize.
The United Nations has regularly chastised South Sudan’s administration for inciting violence, repressing political liberties, and pillaging public resources.
“We will continue to have the scenario in South Sudan until we begin the process of establishing peace at the village level,” Sara Beysolow Nyanti, the UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, said, adding that “sub-national violence does occur.”
“Until the violence is resolved, these numbers will continue to rise because people lack secure access to their fields to farm,” Adeyinka Badejo, the World Food Program’s Acting Country Director in South Sudan, noted.
“We urge the country’s leaders to remain on the road of peace.”
On Friday, new combat erupted between government and opposition troops, only days after both parties agreed to maintain a truce and attempt to salvage a fraying peace pact.
The confrontations in oil-rich Unity State were the latest in a series of conflicts between soldiers loyal to Kiir and those loyal to his deputy Machar over the last several weeks.
According to Saturday’s research, the Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap, and Eastern Equatoria states are home to 80 percent of the people suffering from food insecurity.