KHARTOUM, June 16 (KUNA) -- A record 15 million people in Sudan - one third of the population - are currently facing acute food insecurity, according to the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) released by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday.
"The combined effects of conflict, climate shocks, economic and political crises, rising costs and poor harvests are pushing millions of people deeper into hunger and poverty," said Eddie Rowe, WFP's Representative and Country Director in Sudan.
"However, funding levels are not matching the humanitarian needs and we must act now to avoid increasing hunger levels and to save the lives of those already affected," Rowe added.
The assessment projects that the already alarming food security situation is likely to worsen throughout the lean season in Sudan, which started this month and will last through September.
By that time, up to 40 percent of the population, or around 18 million people, may slip into food insecurity, which WFP and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) warned of earlier this year.
"In the 2021/2022 harvest year, Sudan was able to produce 5.1 million tons of cereal, enough to cover the needs of less than two thirds of the population," said Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative in Sudan.
"If the ongoing agriculture season doesn't receive robust support with agricultural inputs and livestock services, the number of food insecure people may dramatically increase to unprecedented levels and ultimately lead to more conflict and displacement," he noted.
The combined effects of the economic and political crisis, conflict and displacement, climate shocks, including droughts and floods, and a poor harvest in the past agricultural season are among the key drivers of food insecurity in Sudan.
To compound the situation, the conflict in Ukraine is further driving up food and fuel prices in Sudan, which is dependent on food imports with more than half of the country's wheat imports stemming from the Black Sea region.
The CFSVA assessment further shows that food insecurity exists in all of Sudan's 18 states and has worsened in 16 of the states.
The ten most affected localities are in the Darfurs, which have been ravaged by nearly two decades of protracted conflict and displacement.
The most affected locality is in Kereneik, West Darfur, where renewed clashes at the end of April claimed the lives of at least 179 people and displaced around 125,000.
Up to 90 percent of the population in Kereneik is food insecure, the CFSVA analysis shows.
An earlier WFP and FAO assessment on agricultural production, released last March, revealed that poor harvests in many parts of Sudan negatively affected food availability and livelihood opportunities.
Building upon this, the newly released Comprehensive Food Security Assessment confirms the worsening food security situation in Sudan.
To address the sharp rise in food insecurity, the FAO and the WFP are calling for urgent action, including increased funding, in order to save lives and prevent a looming hunger crisis in Sudan. (end)