Juba, Sep 25 (IANS/EFE) Authorities in South Sudan warned Wednesday of a looming humanitarian crisis and the possibility of a devastating famine if the factional conflict in the country were not resolved by next year.
The agriculture ministry warned of a possible “food gap” in 2015 in the Greater Upper Nile region, which includes the Sudanese states of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity, in the event the ongoing civil war has not ended by then.
At least 2.5 million people face the danger of starvation in the region, authorities said.
Minister Beda Machar said that waves of violence and displacement in the region have led to a sharp drop in agricultural production. As a consequence, food stocks in the country are expected to plummet.
The minister added that estimates are that approximately 1.5 million citizens will be vulnerable to the food gap by December.
He stressed that if the situation remains unchanged and the war rages on, the total number of people affected by the looming food crisis could reach 2.5 million.
Thousands died when battles broke out last December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and fighters linked to his former vice president, Riek Machar.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in eastern Africa is trying to mediate an end to the conflict, which also has an ethnic dimension, as Kiir belongs to the Dinka tribe while Machar belongs to the Nuer tribe, which have a long history of mutual hostility.