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UN agencies warn seven million people
in South Sudan at risk of rising hunger 

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- Three UN agencies on Monday warned that 7 million people in South Sudan are at risk of rising hunger in the coming months unless assistance and access are maintained.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP) also warned that progress made to prevent people from dying of hunger could be undone.

“If this happens, this will be the highest ever number of food insecure people in South Sudan. The period of greatest risk will be the lean season, between May and July,” the UN agencies warned in a joint statement issued in Juba.

According to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released on Monday, some 5.3 million people were already struggling in January to find enough food each day and were in “crisis” or “emergency” levels of food insecurity.

This represents a 40 percent increase in the number of severely food insecure people compared to January 2017.

According to the agencies, some 155,000 people, including 29,000 children, who could suffer from the most extreme levels of hunger, are particularly at risk.

Serge Tissot, FAO Representative in South Sudan, warned that the food security situation is extremely fragile, adding that another famine is imminent.

“The projections are stark. If we ignore them, we will be faced with a growing tragedy. If farmers receive support to resume their livelihoods, we will see a rapid improvement in the country’s food security situation due to increased local production,” Tissot said.

The report comes one year after famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February 2017 but improved access and a massive humanitarian response succeeded in containing and averting famine later last year.

Despite this, said the UN agencies, the food insecurity outlook has never been so dire as it is now.

“The situation is deteriorating with each year of conflict as more people lose the little they had. We are alarmed as the lean season when the harvest runs out is expected to start this year much earlier than usual,” said Adnan Khan, WFP Representative and Country Director.

“Unless we can pre-position assistance rather than mount a more costly response during the rains, more families will struggle to survive,” Khan warned.

The report says overall hunger levels have risen due to protracted conflict that led to reduced food production and constantly disrupted livelihoods.

This, the report says, was further exacerbated by economic collapse, which impacted markets and trade, making them unable to compensate for the decrease in local food production.

“Prolonged dry spells, flooding and continued pest infestation, such as Fall Armyworm, have also had a damaging impact,” it says.

In areas like Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Central Equatoria, riddled by reoccurring outbreaks of violent conflict and displacement, the proportion of people suffering from extreme food insecurity ranges from 52 to 62 percent—more than half the states’ combined population.

The number is expected to keep increasing unless people find the means to receive, produce or buy their own food.

The report says conflict and worsening hunger have led to already soaring rates of malnutrition. Without assistance, as of May, more than 1.3 million children under five will be at risk of acute malnutrition.

Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan said they are preparing for rates of severe malnutrition among children never before seen in this country.

“Without an urgent response and access to those most in need, many children will die. We cannot allow that to happen,” Mdoe added.



Ghana policemen in UN’s S. Sudan mission sent back home over sex scandal

ACCRA Ghana (Xinhua) -- Ghana police on Sunday confirmed reports that 46 of its officers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan had been sent back home.

The reports said late Saturday that the mission in South Sudan had recalled a Ghanaian police unit working at one of its protection camps to pave way for investigation into allegations that some of them had been involved in sexual abuse.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan said it had asked the 46-member unit to return to the capital Juba from its Protection of Civilians site in Wau, northwest of Juba, after an investigation was launched into a complaint that members of the unit were having sexual relations with women living at the camp.

Responses to Xinhua’s enquiry indicated that the Ghana Police High Command had knowledge of the development and was working on a release to state its official position on the matter.


Ghana police to cooperate in UN probe of officers’ alleged
sexual misconduct in South Sudan mission

ACCRA Ghana (Xinhua) -- Ghana police said on Sunday it is prepared to cooperate fully with the United Nations (UN) in investigating some serving Ghanaian officers alleged to be involved in sexual misconduct under the UN Mission in Southern Sudan (UNMISS).

A statement signed by Director General of Police Public Affairs, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) David Eklu, said the police high command remained committed to ensuring highest professional standards by its officers serving under UN missions.

It said the police administration “will not tolerate any acts or actions by Ghanaian Police officers that go contrary to United Nations rules and regulations.”

The UN informed the Ghana Police Service through the Ghana Permanent Mission in New York on Friday that some members of the Ghana Formed Police Unit (FPU) were alleged to be engaged in acts of sexual exploitation against internally displaced women in Wau, South Sudan.

“The police administration immediately sent a response through the Ghana Permanent mission to the UN indicating its fullest cooperation and support to investigate the alleged sexual exploitation and abuse case,” the statement read.

The Police administration “has meanwhile requested the UN to permit a three member team to be immediately deployed into the mission area for a better understanding of the incident.”



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