Narrator: The world’s newest country is facing a crisis. Like too many South Sudanese, Njing Iwok is struggling to feed her family of 15 this year. Once a week, she walks here to Malakal from her village to buy food, a journey that takes several hours each way. She makes the rip because food prices are a bit lower here
WFP Staff member: “Families in villages like this one in Upper Nile State would normally be able to grow enough sorghum to last them through for several months, at least to the end of the year but this year because the rains were so bad (they came late and were very erratic), they haven’t had any harvest at all, so they are dependent on whatever food they can buy from the market.”
Narrator: The looming food crisis in South Sudan is the result of more than just erratic rains and failed crops. The country gained its independence from Sudan in July. Since then, border issues between the two countries have disrupted the traditional commercial trading patterns, causing critical food shortages in the markets and the need for WFP’s food assistance is growing. On top of the problems caused by scarcity and high food prices, more than 300,000 people have been forced from their homes by conflict in the last year. In addition to that, with independence, hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have voluntarily returned to the country from Sudan. All of this means that more than 2 million people will need food assistance in 2012 and it is critical for WFP to get that food into place as quickly as possible because large parts of the country become virtually inaccessible once the rainy season starts in March.