AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File
The United Nations has called for immediate access to conflict affected areas in South Sudan in order to prevent “catastrophe”.
“Since fighting broke out nearly two years ago, children have been plagued by conflict, disease, fear and hunger,” the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in South Sudan, Jonathan Veitch, said in a press release.
“Their families have been extraordinary in trying to sustain them, but have now exhausted all coping mechanisms. Agencies can support, but only if we have unrestricted access. If we do not, many children may die,” he continued.
A report released by the UN stated that over 30,000 people in South Sudan’s Unity State are facing famine in the coming months and the possible death of thousands due to growing hunger if things do not change.
The conflict in the country has steadily worsened hunger levels. Two years ago a political crisis fractured ethnic lines between President Salva Kiir’s Dinka people and theethnic Nuer forces who are loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) released the report on Thursday. Members of the IPC include the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The report stated that “there is a great concern that famine may exist in the coming months but it may not be possible to validate it at that time due to lack of evidence as the result of limited access to the affected areas and populations.”