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South Sudan, 14 October 2016: Struggling to survive

In South Sudan, conflict and spiraling inflation have left millions of people struggling to feed themselves.

Around 4.4 million people — 40 percent of the population — are food insecure and the world’s youngest country is facing a crisis of malnutrition among children. UNICEF has treated more than 140,000 children so far this year.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
The main market in Aweil in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state — a state that was once the bread basket of South Sudan but that now suffers from severe food insecurity. Food prices have risen dramatically as the country suffers from 600% inflation making most food items too expensive for an average family.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
The price of peanut butter — a commonly used item in preparation of food instead of cooking oil — has gone up six times in the past two months.

“I used to sell the small sachet for five South Sudanese pounds but now it goes for 30 pounds. Only few people can afford it,” said one vendor.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
Ajok-Wol holds a tin of sorghum — a staple food in Aweil, which she received as food aid.

“If I did not get this sorghum, my family would have starved. I don’t have a job or money to buy anything else,” said Ajok, who has eight children.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
“Two months ago I sold a cucumber for 10 pounds but now I have to sell for 25 to make a little profit. I have three children and a wife that rely totally on the proceeds of these sales. I am afraid that next year the harvest might fail. If that happens, I will have move to Sudan,” Marco, 34.
 

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Acieng Kuan,28, just bought four tiny half ripe tomatoes for five South Sudanese pounds in the market in Aweil. A month ago the same quantity would have cost her two pounds, or less if she was lucky.

“This is the only food I can afford for my family,” said Acieng.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
Despite living with a spinal disability, Ayak Yel, 22, a single mother of two, runs a tea shop in Aweil. She is worried about the future of her business and food because of the rising prices of staples such as sugar.

“This is my first business, I hope it won’t be my last,” she said.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
Some families have resorted to selling household items to get by. Akech, 44, is trying to sell his bed, the last piece of furniture he owns, so he can buy food to feed his family.

“I have already sold one other bed, two chairs and a table, now there is nothing left,” said Akech.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
Yor Garang, 16, the sole breadwinner in a family of 10 is selling in the market instead of going to school. He earns a living by selling little metal saving boxes, grain scoops and stoves all of which he has made out of cans.

“I have never been to school,” he says.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
Abandoned by both parents, this little boy and his sister have resorted to begging for money and food in the streets of Aweil. The number of children in the streets has increased due to the harsh economy and effects of war that have left many children orphaned.
 

© UNICEF/2016/Rich

 
Children here go for days without food or get by on one meal a day. Malnutrition rates in children under 5 years here are the highest in South Sudan. With support from donors, UNICEF has saved lives of many children in Aweil through ready-to-eat therapeutic food in treatment centers.

 

 
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