The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it has approved a budget revised for the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) in which it seeks to provide food assistance to 1.1 million South Sudanese in 2017.
The UN food agency said in a report received on Monday that the assistance will focus on refugee populations and areas in the country that are more stable, where opportunities exist for transition and recovery activities.
“In advance of the 2017 prepositioning exercise, WFP is planning test convoys through access routes that have not been used during the rainy season or where insecurity has limited road movements,” the report said.
WFP said the PRRO will be implemented alongside the Emergency Operation (EMOP) which seeks to provide life-saving food assistance to 3 million people.
WFP said that there are over 1.2 million refugees from South Sudan, and more than 1.8 million people who were internally displaced due to conflict in the country.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Nov. 7 warned that 31 percent of the country’s population, or 3.7 million people, are facing a severe food security risk, despite the end of the lean food season and start of harvests — a major increase from the 1 million who were in a similar situation at this time last year.
During this time of year in South Sudan, people generally are more secure due to higher food stocks and lower market prices, but the FAO warned that the risk of famine is looming, especially for the most vulnerable communities.
Part of the reason for the growing insecurity is the violence that has plagued the Equatoria region, which is responsible for over half of South Sudan’s net cereal production.
About 50 percent of all harvests have been lost in areas affected by the violence, reports say. Many farmers were unable to plant seeds for the second season due to armed conflicts and the ensuing displacement.
WFP said it provided assistance to 1.6 million people across South Sudan in October, but the distributions fell short of the plan as a result of commodity shortfalls and insecurity.
WFP also provided cash-based transfers amounting to 1.9 million U.S. dollars. This month, WFP aims to assist 2.9 million people through general food distributions, nutrition interventions, school meals, and livelihoods activities, it said.
©Alleastafrica and Xinhua