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By Machel Amos
The Citizen Correspondent
Juba. The hunger situation is worsening in many parts of South Sudan, with market prices having increased by at least 63 per cent in the first and second quarters of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics has said. In a report that tracked food security and food prices since February, the country’s official statistics body said household stocks were declining as the hunger season begins.
Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis for April to July indicates that most of the populations in the Nile Sobat and western flood plains are food insecure.
“However, food security situation in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei and Northern Bhar el-Ghazal states are deteriorating, as such in these states the households are in a category of emergency level, which needs humanitarian intervention,” the report, a copy of which this writer has seen, said.
Increase of fuel prices, constrained relations with Sudan, the devaluation of South Sudan pounds, massive influx of returnees from Sudan, refugees from the warring Blue Nile and South Kordofan states were, according to the report, the key drivers of the current food insecurity. It also added that poor harvest last year, as well as the high taxation at the borders, partly augmented food scarcity and considerably shot up the food prices.
“As a result, selling households assets like livestock has started as the hunger season commenced,” the report said.
In some states, such as Western Bhar el-Ghazal (WBG), which is at the border with Sudan, livestock prices have also shot up. For instance, the price of an average goat has increased by 95 per cent in WBG state capital, Wau, between March and May.
UN humanitarian agencies earlier warned that 4.7million people were at risk of hunger this year, citing ethnic violence, drought and conflict with Sudan.
South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July last year following an overwhelming vote, relies 98 per cent on revenues from oil to meet her budgetary obligations.
It shut down oil production in January due to quarrels with the neighbouring Sudan on the transit fees to use the pipeline that runs to Port Sudan along the Red Sea coast.
Having lost the revenues from oil, South Sudan faces a major challenge of providing basic services to her citizens. Importing food and fuel has been constrained by the diminishing stocks of foreign exchange.
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