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Ceasefire gives hope to the hungry in South Sudan

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The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today it hopes the ceasefire in South Sudan will allow desperately needed aid to reach the hungry. Nearly 600,000 people have been displaced since fighting broke out in December between the government and opposition forces.

WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi says, "We hope that the signing of an agreement in Addis will bring fighting to a stop and allow WFP and other humanitarian agencies to provide urgently needed relief to the people affected by this conflict. But it is important to note that humanitarian needs will continue, long after the fighting stops.”

Around 178,000 people have received WFP food aid throughout the country since December. However, many others have been blocked off because of the conflict. WFP warehouses have also been looted. Beyond getting emergency aid delivered, there is also the long-term. Can farms be restored in time for food production to resume?

Even before the December outbreak, the country was in a hunger crisis. The fear is this will escalate because of the extent of damage to many communities and farms.

WFP says it has launched a US $ 57.8 million appeal for South Sudan. The UN food agency relies entirely on voluntary funding.

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