WASHINGTON, May 4, 2017—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $50 million grant from the IDA* Crisis Response Window (CRW) to provide unconditional direct food assistance to counter starvation and prevent hunger-related deaths during the on-going famine in South Sudan. UN agencies like the WFP, UNICEF and FAO with deep on-the-ground experience in delivering services during such crisis will be contracted to reach the most vulnerable people.
The Emergency Food and Nutrition Security Project will benefit a segment of the 4.9 million extremely food insecure population in South Sudan, currently affected by the famine as a result of conflict and drought. In addition, the project will support an integrated nutrition security intervention for children under 5, and pregnant and lactating women. It will also seek to revitalize agricultural production in selected drought affected communities.
“Ongoing conflict means that households in South Sudan are reportedly relying on desperate measures such as distress sales of productive assets, putting future income streams at risk. These circumstances are likely to further reverse any modest gains in poverty reduction that has been registered in the years following independence,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director, South Sudan. “We recognize that only full implementation of an inclusive peace process will bring sustainable change in South Sudan, but we hope that this assistance will help alleviate some distress among communities affected by famine and create opportunities for them to recover their livelihoods.”
South Sudan is affected by the drought unfolding across the Horn of Africa, as well as the continuing armed conflict within the country that has worsened the food security situation by destroying agricultural assets and production within the country. Famine was declared in February 2017 but for several months, the country has been suffering from high inflation, depreciation of local currency, impeding flow of food imports, resulting in increase in food prices. It is estimated that severely food insecure numbers will increase to 5.5 million people in July at the height of the 2017 lean season. More than 270,000 children are expected to be severely malnourished.
“We are working closely with the UN partners in delivering our response as we believe that the resolution to this acute crisis will not be possible without all humanitarian and development actors working together,’’ said Sahr Kpundeh, Country Manager, South Sudan.
The project is consistent with the World Bank’s engagement in South Sudan, which under the current difficult environment, has been focused on supporting livelihoods and provision of basic social services. It also dovetails with the South Sudan Development Plan’s objective of ensuring food security as a way of achieving stability. The CRW is designed to help low-income IDA countries recover from severe disasters and crises.
*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, and helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.