The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) began airdropping emergency food rations to famine stricken areas in South Sudan.
According to WFP, some 14,000 people had been registered and assisted by inter-agency rapid response mission teams deployed in Leer Town one of the areas worst hit by the scourge.
“WFP is delivering now 259 metric tons, which is a full ration for one month of the three major commodities — that is cereal, pulses and vegetable oil, plus the csb++ which is distributed to the children aged 6 to 59 months for combating malnutrition,” said Lenidace Rugemalila, a WFP official.
For the residents who are bearing the brunt of the famine, the emergency food is a welcomed relief.
“I have been here for four days in order to receive food. Today I finally got my food and I am very happy,” said a resident.
Food aid is currently expected to be distributed to a total of around 50,000 people in Leer,while almost five million people need urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.
Last month the U.N. declared that parts of South Sudan are experiencing famine, the first time the world has faced such a catastrophe in six years. Some 5.5 million people, nearly half the population, will not have a reliable source of food by July, the height of the lean season.
The disaster is largely man-made. Oil-rich South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, plunged into civil war in 2013, after President Salva Kiir fired his deputy Riek Machar. Since then, fighting has fractured the country along ethnic lines, inflation topped 800 percent last year and war and drought have paralysed agriculture.