4.8 million South Sudan People Surviving on goat bones and water lilies, with an Inflation at 661 percent – the highest rate in the world

Nearly half of the war-torn country is facing "catastrophic" food shortages, aid group warns

South Sudan UN camp

Tens of thousands of people in South Sudan are on the brink of starvation with many living in swamps and surviving on water lilies and goat bones.

A hunger crisis affecting an estimated 4.8 million people could turn catastrophic unless humanitarian relief is urgently stepped up, Mercy Corps country director Deepmala Mahla warned.

“The situation is dire,” she said.

Mahla said the worst of the hunger is in the south of Unity State, where people have moved deep into swamp areas.

“People have been surviving for weeks, maybe months, just eating water lilies. People are also cooking goat skin and bones because there is nothing else,” she said, adding about 40,000 people are at risk of dying unless swift action is taken.

“It doesn’t take much time for a crisis to become a catastrophe. It’s a race against time.”

In the capital Juba, vegetable traders are now cutting tomatoes in half to sell because some customers can no longer afford to buy a whole one, Mahla said.

The crisis has been fuelled by nearly three years of war that has killed thousands, uprooted more than two million people, and disrupted markets. Inflation is at 661 percent – the highest rate in the world, Mahla said.

The fighting pits supporters loyal to President Salva Kiir against allies of his former deputy, Riek Machar. The pair signed a shaky peace deal a year ago but violence continues.

Mahla said the difficulties of delivering aid in a country the size of France with only 200km of paved road were compounded by increasing assaults on aid workers.

South Sudan had more attacks on aid workers than any other country last year, including shootings, rapes and mass lootings. At least 57 aid workers have been killed since the end of 2013 and many more are missing.

Across South Sudan many people have been uprooted multiple times meaning they cannot farm their land. Around South Sudan UN peacekeepers are protecting nearly 200,000 people at six compounds.

One third of children are out of school with girls being pulled out first to be married off in exchange for cows.

The United Nations estimates that half of the 12 million people in South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, are going hungry because of the conflict, poor rains, and a battered economy.

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13 Responses to 4.8 million South Sudan People Surviving on goat bones and water lilies, with an Inflation at 661 percent – the highest rate in the world

  1. Aerokirk September 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    It’s bizarre. The people desperately need help, but if you send aid workers, they just shoot and rob the aid workers.

    How do you step in to a nation that has been so traumatized by war and start fixing it? Obviously they’ve got to make the first moves, but is the rest of the world just supposed to wait for them to starve to death first?

  2. throwyatrashaway September 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Yea I can’t comprehend why nobody is interested in starting a ground war and occupation in a landlocked Central African country… cause forced occupation of 3rd world countries have gone so well for western powers in recent history.

  3. JimShitty September 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Doctors deal with this sort of problem on a daily basis. Sometimes, no matter how much effort and care they put in, the doctors just can’t save the patient’s life. There comes a point when the available treatments are having no effect, and the only option left is to let nature take its course, even if the likely outcome is death.

  4. Barbikan September 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    This is my harsh opinion, but the separation of South Sudan plays a bug role in these problems. Not many people realize that although Salvakier and Omar Albasheer fight for power played bug role in the civil war, that at least South Sudanese were able to find shelter and work in the North and and be able to travel to Egypt to work or study. The South Sudanese working and living in Sudan played a big role in supporting their families back in the South. Not to mention, juba and all of South Sudan virtually have no modern infrastructure…. South Sudan was literally made without considering the consequences that are happening and will continue…. South Sudanese were deceived by those who supported its independence and by dictators like Salvakir and Bashir

  5. sturle September 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    The president and the vice president are waging war against each other.

    The country was supposed to be run on oil money, but corruption, war, incompetence and the oil price crash have removed the whole economic foundation for the country.

    Foreign investors have left, and they’re not coming back.

    Aid in any form will not be temporary. That should not be a country.

  6. swimmingdropkick September 15, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Rape is rampant there, with no form of birth control. It’s not as easy as couples deciding not to have kids.

  7. dr_babbit September 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Perhaps the current human reaction to this human condition is in the grand scheme of existence. It’s the only way i can think to make it even close to an acceptable situation, and given the attempts and the success rate of fixing this issue, i can only presume we find this situation acceptable.

  8. batspace September 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    …because there was demand for slave labor. The only reason things are sold is because there is a demand for it. Arabs and Turks demanded slave labor so they can resell slaves elsewhere at a profit and they used slaves as mercenaries in wars against Europe and each other. They justified it through racism. Europeans and Americans demanded slave labor for agricultural purposes and they justified it through racism as well. And those blacks that sold slaves aren’t innocent. They destroyed their civilizations in the process.

  9. AmygdalaJean September 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Drone delivery is the answer. What makes me mad is that I read an article earlier about a Michigan farmer that had to dump his cherries due to dumb US policy. While there are people in the world going hungry, hard grown food should be going to waste.

  10. tom September 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Sorry Sudan, we just used the last bit of inc to print 38 billion dollars we are sending over to Israel.

    Maybe if you start a terrorist network, Hillary can get you a weapons deals and then some other country will pay you to go kill some other people.

  11. goesbump September 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    South Sudan had more attacks on aid workers than any other country last year, including shootings, rapes and mass lootings.

  12. Isohedra September 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Poverty is not natural–it’s man-made. Nelson Mandela said it more eloquently but that’s the truth. I don’t understand this world and how we can let people die of easily-preventable things like starvation. 🙁

  13. dave September 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Since when are the means of production in Venezuela in the hands of the people?

    There’s been only two actually communist countries in the world we know of. The Paris Commune and the Spanish communists.

    Also, ironically, the USA funds an insurgence in South Sudan because they’re opposed to South Sudan selling China their oil.


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