South Sudan is facing its highest levels of malnutrition and food insecurity since it gained independence 10 years ago due to ongoing violence and the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN report said Tuesday.

“Conflict, displacement, loss of livelihoods, inability to reach health care and lack of access to schools have created urgent humanitarian and protection needs, especially for women and children,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) quoted Alain Noudehou, humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, as saying.

“Throughout these various shocks, the affected communities have continued to demonstrate a great sense of solidarity,” Noudehou added.

The humanitarian coordinator called on South Sudan’s government as well as development partners, donors and aid foundations “to match their solidarity with unwavering support.”

Furthermore, the UN report warned that South Sudan is expected to experience once again devastating flooding which affected roughly one million people in 2019 and 2020.

“The upcoming lean season from May to July is expected to be the most severe on record,” the OCHA said.

Due to these dramatic developments, the OCHA on Tuesday officially launched the South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021, requesting $1.7 billion which targets reaching some 6.6 million people “with urgent life-saving assistance and protection by the end of the year.”

This came while the UN Refugee Agency Tuesday launched the 2021 South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan, which seeks some $1.2 billion “for humanitarian partners to support 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees across five neighboring countries,” according to the OCHA’s report.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.