In a bid to fight the debilitating pangs of hunger, hundreds of thousands of wizened South Sudanese families have resorted to eating weeds and water lilies to survive famine which has hit the war-torn country.
Among the hungry many are more than 100,000 people that the United Nations says face imminent starvation in the counties of Leer and Mayendit in greater Unity state, which borders Sudan.
This development is coming after United Nations declared famine in parts of South Sudan warning that hundreds of thousands of people face starvation occasioned by years of war and a collapsing economy.
According to figures released by the World Food Programme (WFP) and other UN bodies a further 1 million people were classified as being on the brink of famine, with the world body calling for urgent and unimpeded humanitarian access to reverse “an escalating catastrophe”.
Serge Tissot, FAO representative in South Sudan, said: “Famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and our worst fears have been realised. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive.
Continuing, Tissot added that; “The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.”
The famine is the first to be declared since 2011 in Somalia, where more than a quarter of a million people are estimated to have died between October 2010 and April 2012.
The UN has warned that three other countries – Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria – are at risk of famine.
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