The World Food Program (WFP) warned Monday that it will suspend food assistance for more than 100,000 displaced people in parts of South Sudan for three months from October due to funding shortages.
Matthew Hollingworth, representative and country director of the WFP in South Sudan, said the UN food agency requires an additional $154 million to provide food assistance in sufficient quantities.
"If funding levels continue to drop, we may have no choice but to make further cuts as the needs of vulnerable communities continue to outpace available resources," Hollingworth said in a statement issued in Juba.
The WFP said while generous contributions from donors have enabled it to reach millions in need with lifesaving assistance, many vulnerable people living in crisis areas continue to suffer from the highest levels of food insecurity and cannot survive without sustained food assistance.
It said as part of a prioritisation exercise driven by funding crunch, some 106,000 people displaced in camps in Wau, Juba and Bor South will from October not receive monthly food rations for the next three months and until the New Year.
The WFP said it will resume its monthly food assistance for internally displaced people in those camps from January to September 2022.
"Drastic times call for drastic measures. We are forced to take these painful decisions and stretch our limited resources to meet the critical needs of people who were on the brink of starvation and now risk slipping back into a catastrophe if their access to food diminishes," Hollingworth said.
He said the three-month suspension is part of a broader reduction in food assistance that the WFP announced in April across all camps that affects 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people who now receive half the caloric contents of a WFP food ration.
Food insecurity in South Sudan has increased in the last few years and now affects more than 60 percent of the country's population, according to the UN.