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Plan International Warns that South Sudan is still in a State of Extreme Need

JUBA - A UN-backed food security report released today announced that South Sudan is no longer classified as being in famine. Responding to the news, Daniel Muchena, Country Director of Plan International South Sudan, said:

“While there's every reason to celebrate humanitarian efforts that have led to a reduction in the number of people living in famine conditions in South Sudan, the country is not out of the woods yet.

“Famine is a technical term based on several criteria* measured by a multi-agency initiative of UN agencies, NGOs, and donors called the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). Famine means, for example, that more than 30 percent of children under five are suffering from malnutrition in a given area.

“The fact that these criteria no longer apply in parts of Unity State does not mean that people are no longer undergoing an extreme hunger crisis or that children are no longer suffering from malnutrition.

“Sadly, the truth is the opposite -- six million people are now suffering from extreme food insecurity, up from 4.9 million in February. Around 45,000 people in the Jonglei and Yei states are facing catastrophic conditions.

“Many of these are women and children who have already been facing the most severe consequences of the crisis: the triple tragedy of conflict, economic collapse, and hunger.

“At Plan International, our biggest fear is that the lean season, which comes in July, will see millions of children lose their battles with hunger.

“Conflict remains the root cause of this crisis, so until that is adequately addressed and humanitarian organizations are given safe access to all parts of the country, the future for South Sudan’s children remain a cause for grave concern.

“South Sudan, now more than ever, needs the support of the international community to help bring an end to this crisis and save millions of lives.”

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*According to the IPC, a famine occurs when the following criteria apply:

  • At least 20 percent of households in the area have an extreme lack of food where starvation, death, and destruction are evident.
  • More than 30 percent of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition.
  • Daily mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people, or four child deaths per 10,000 children – double the normal rate.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Plan International is providing emergency food distributions and nutrition support in Jonglei state, which is one of the worst-affected areas. Daniel Muchena is available for interviews on Plan International’s work in South Sudan.

About Plan International USA

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan believes in the power and potential of every child. Working together with children, young people, supporters, and partners, Plan strives for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children. For more information, please visit

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