South Sudan Faces Catastrophic Food Shortage, UN Agencies Say

At least 30,000 people in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state are facing starvation and death unless warring parties in the world’s newest nation allow unrestricted access, three United Nations agencies said.

“Extreme hunger is pushing people to the brink of a catastrophe in parts of South Sudan,” the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization and UN Children’s Fund said Thursday in a joint e-mailed statement. Some displaced families are surviving on one meal of fish and water lilies per day in Unity state, it said.

A nationwide survey showed 3.9 million people are facing severe food insecurity, the organizations said. Even families living outside conflicts zones were affected because of erratic rains, high food and fuel costs, they said. Annual inflation increased 59 percent in August as food prices jumped 11 percent.

A two-year civil war in South Sudan, which has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest oil reserves, has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced 2 million. The violence has cut oil production, the country’s primary export, by a third.

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