Some 3.6 million people in South Sudan currently face severe food shortages, the highest levels ever experienced at harvest time.
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has sounded an alarm over the hunger levels in the country and warns that the crisis is likely to worsen when food from the current harvest runs out.
In a report released on Friday, the WFP indicated that hunger levels have doubled since last year.
The agency estimates that the number will rise to 4.6 million between January and April and may increase further from May to July unless aid is scaled up.
“Food … insecurity is anticipated to further deteriorate … to the highest levels ever in the lean period, unless the humanitarian response is stepped up further to an unprecedented level.”
WFP singled out Nothern Bahr el Gazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Unity States where nearly 60% , 47% and 56% of the population respectively are affected.
Armed conflict in the country has worsened the situation with attacks on aid workers and bureaucratic interferences preventing supplies from reaching tens of thousands in desperate need of aid.
Since descending into chaos in 2013, more than one million people have fled into neighbouring countries while about 1.9 million others are internally displaced.