Ongoing conflicts, flooding, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to 6.35 million people in South Sudan being threatened by hunger. According to the UN, this means that more than half of the population will not have enough food. There is already acute famine in some parts of the country.
“It is an alarming situation to which we must respond quickly. Otherwise, 60 percent of the population will be threatened by hunger in just a few weeks,” says Roland Hansen, Head of the Africa Department of Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency, which has been working in the country since 1996.
The situation has worsened in recent months due to overlapping crises. The political situation is unstable and attacks by various groups repeatedly lead to the population being displaced. At the same time, floods have caused the destruction of crops. The Covid-19 pandemic has further worsened the situation for the people.
“School children have been particularly affected by the impact of the pandemic. Schools were closed for months. Many young girls have been married off in the meantime and have not returned to school. In our project areas, we immediately started to provide food for the children who are allowed to come back to school. For the smaller children, however, school closures mean that they have neither access to education nor a good meal – because school meals are often their only meal a day” says Hansen.
Among other things, Malteser International will distribute more seeds and agricultural equipment. In the areas affected by the floods, staff is already distributing toiletries and providing families with clean drinking water.
Photo-Credit: Nyokabi Kahura/Malteser International.