JUBA, South Sudan

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is reaching devastating levels with over 8.3 million people now in need of urgent assistance, a civil society forum in the North African nation said Friday.

“Continued conflict and violence, two years of devastating flooding, and some of the worst food insecurity in recent years have all converged to leave parts of the country in the most critical humanitarian situation since the 2017 localized famine,” the South Sudan NGO Forum said in a statement.

Over 7 million people are projected to be in a state of food insecurity by April 2021 with the situation continuing to worsen, the forum added.

More than 100,000 people are expected to be at a risk of dying from starvation, malnutrition and related disease over the next several months, it said.

“Alongside the overwhelming level of needs, humanitarian agencies have faced increasing threats and attacks against their operations and staff members,” the forum said.

The alarming trend of killing humanitarian workers last year is continuing this year too, it said.

“Given the depth and scope of the humanitarian crisis, NGOs across South Sudan are calling on national and international parties to act immediately. Unhindered access to civilians must be guaranteed and an urgent and massive scale up of the humanitarian response is needed to prevent devastating loss of life.”

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