South Sudan: Governor declares state of emergency in E. Lakes state

April 11, 2016 (JUBA) – Authorities in South Sudan’s Eastern Lakes state have declared a state of emergency due to worsening starvation levels and urged aid agencies to assist.

The governor, Rin Tueng Mabor, made the declaration after touring parts of Awerial county, currently hosting thousands of internally displaced persons.

“I appeal to all humanitarian organisations to intervene on the humanitarian situation to deliver emergency food so that people can get food and cultivate,” he said.

The state information minister said government decries the level of starvation in the area, but has urged citizens to cultivate farms since the region has become peaceful.

South Sudan has over 90 percent of arable land for agriculture, but has utilised only about 4.5 percent of it since 2011, despite the huge agricultural production potential. Also more than 80 percent of the South Sudanese population depend on agriculture as a source of livelihood.

The crisis in South Sudan is marked by alarming levels of hunger. Some 5.8 million people, or nearly half of the country’s population, are unsure where their next meal will come from, while the rate of severe food insecurity has now reached 12 percent, double the rate of one year ago.

Last week, an assessment by two United Nations agencies revealed that civil strife and unfavourable rains have further reduced crop production in South Sudan, contributing to a cereal deficit of 381,000 metric tons – 53 percent greater than in 2015 – and aggravating the already severe food shortages.

South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, was one of the most fragile states in last year’s index released by The Fund for Peace, a US-based research institute.

(ST)

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