South Sudan Facing Worst Lean Season Since Independence, UN Says

South Sudan is heading for the worst lean season since independence five years ago, with almost half its population of 11 million facing severe hunger, the United Nations World Food Programme said.

The number at risk has climbed from 2.8 million in the first quarter of 2016, driven by insecurity, poor harvests and displacements in some areas of the oil-producing country, according to a WFP situation report published on Monday.

“As many as 5.3 million people may face severe food insecurity, with particular areas of concern in the non-conflict affected states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria,” the agency said.

South Sudan is trying to recover from a civil war that has lasted more than two years, left tens of thousands of people dead and forced 2 million to flee their homes. A transitional government was formed at the end of April to improve economic management, boost security, reduce corruption and stamp out human-rights abuses before elections within 30 months.

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