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30,000 Starving to Death in Southern Sudan 'Catastrophe' Says UN

Hospital in Nassir, Sudan run by Doctors Without Borders. (Photo by European Commission DG ECHO)
Hospital in Nassir, Sudan run by Doctors Without Borders. (Photo by European Commission DG ECHO)

By AFP
Over 30,000 people in South Sudan's war-zone regions face death by starvation, the United Nations said today, warning that tens of thousands more are on the brink of famine.

While an official famine has not been declared, the report describes the worst conditions yet seen in a 22-month civil war marked by atrocities and accusations of war crimes, including the blockading of food supplies.

"At least 30,000 people are living in extreme conditions and are facing starvation and death," the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN children's agency UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a joint statement.

Those worst affected are in the northern battleground state of Unity, once the country's key oil producing region, but now scene of some of the heaviest fighting, including the mass abduction and rape of women and children.

Some 3.9 million people are in crisis -- a third of the country's population -- a massive 80 per cent rise compared to the same period last year, the UN said.

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