Three UN agencies said on Monday declared famine in parts of South Sudan.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN children’s fund UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) said no fewer than 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of violence-plagued South Sudan.
“Famine is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country.
“A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger,” the three agencies said.
An additional one million are on the brink of famine in several parts of the country, where farming has been hampered since a military conflict erupted between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, in December 2013.
In January, the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan said it was continuing discussions with the transitional national unity Government on the deployment of 4,000-strong regional protection force in the country.
The force was authorised by the UN Security Council in August 2016 but has yet to be deployed.
“The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) confirms that in preparation for the arrival of the Regional Protection Force, it continues to be engaged in discussions with the Transitional Government of National Unity as to the various modalities for the new Force, including where they will be deployed in Juba,” a statement issued by the Mission’s Office of the Spokesperson said.
The statement followed various media reports, including those suggesting that the government might have changed its position on the deployment of the Force.
“The Mission’s attention has been drawn to recent statements reported in the media concerning the deployment of the Regional Protection Force.
“It may be recalled that the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 2304 decided that UNMISS force levels should be increased to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including 4,000 for a Regional Protection Force.
“This was reaffirmed by the Security Council in its recent Resolution 2327, renewing the United Nations Mission in South Sudan for one year,” the spokesperson said.