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Foodgrains Bank monitoring situation in South Sudan

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Continuing violence may have serious implications for people who are food insecure

Canadian Foodgrains Bank is monitoring the situation in South Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by conflict.

South Sudan is the world’s newest country. After voting to separate from its northern neighbour about three years ago, the country has been in a fragile state of peace.

This changed in December 2013, when fighting broke out between government forces and rebels with loyalty to the former vice president, and quickly spread across the country.

Since then, an estimated 716,200 people have fled their homes, and an additional 156,800 people have fled into neighbouring countries.

“It’s very concerning, particularly because of the agricultural implications,” says Foodgrains Bank international programs director Grant Hillier.

In areas of South Sudan where times of hunger can be anticipated and prepared for, aid agencies and local government typically ship in food well advance of when it is actually needed – a practice that ensures the food arrives at its destination well before the arrival of the rainy season, and the inevitable washing out of roads.

This year’s widespread violence is complicating that process, making it more difficult for food to arrive where needed.

In an interview with Reuters, Toby Lanzer of the United Nations stated that “if they can’t [ship in food], if violence continues – and there’s a high risk of that in some of the key states which are the most food insecure and which are the most prone to flooding – then the outlook for the humanitarian situation is very dire.”

Hillier agrees with his assessment.

“We are continually monitoring the situation,” he adds. “It’s a very food insecure country at the best of times.”

In the meantime, the Foodgrains Bank asks Canadians to remember people suffering from ongoing violence in South Sudan in their prayers, and to pray for a swift and peaceful end to the ongoing conflict.

—Amanda Thorsteinsson, communications officer for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 church and church agencies working together to end global hunger. Foodgrains Bank programs are undertaken with the support of the Canadian government. For more information, visit www.foodgrainsbank.ca.

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