World

1.25 million face starvation in wartorn South Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan — In war-torn South Sudan 1.25 million people are facing starvation, double the number from the same time last year, according to a report by the United Nations and the government released Monday.

The country could once again plunge into famine in 2018, humanitarians and the government warned.

‘‘The widespread and extreme food consumption gaps . . . should make us all extremely concerned about the worst-case scenario of famine in many locations across South Sudan in 2018,’’ said Katie Rickard, country coordinator for REACH, a humanitarian research initiative that provided data for the report.

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Humanitarians blame the worsening situation on South Sudan’s continuing conflict, which is nearing its fifth year and has killed more than 50,000 people.

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In February, the world’s youngest nation declared famine in two counties in Unity State, the world’s first formal famine declaration since Somalia in 2011. In the two counties, 100,000 people were on the brink of starvation, but thanks to early detection and a rapid response catastrophe was avoided, said the World Food Program.

However, the latest food and security analysis update by the UN and South Sudan’s National Bureau of Statistics is grim. As of September, 6 million people — 56 percent of the population — were experiencing severe hunger.