Coronavirus: South Sudan cleric highlights biting hunger in a “triple pandemic” as African churches confront food insecurity

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.
Download logo

South Sudan church leaders are among African clerics who are highlighting a painful “hunger pandemic” in their countries, as experts warn of aggravated food insecurity in regions due to coronavirus.

Fr James Oyet Latansio, general secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, said the disease had devastated families, creating a “triple pandemic” including COVID-19, gender-based violence and severe hunger.

“Food security in South Sudan is very fragile and delicate. The situation is reflected in Juba city, and other towns and villages across the country,” Latansio said.

The country—the world’s newest nation with many Christians and followers of African traditional religion—is part of the eastern Africa region, where the World Food Programme warned in May that 34-43 million people could face acute food insecurity in the next three months. The agency said, without intensive efforts to contain the evolving livelihood and food security crisis, COVID-19 could turn into a hunger pandemic.

Recently, churches and agencies in the region have moved to confront the growing hunger crisis, triggered by lockdowns, curfews and other anti-COVID measures. With the measures leading to job losses, disrupting food supply chains and destroying family economies, the churches have delivered food and other basic at doorsteps.

Church leaders are confident that the threat by COVID-19 to exacerbate hunger can be extinguished with increased and right action.

“We need to act. It’s a threat and we can prevent it from materialising. We need to do what can be done for now. There is a lot of pastoral responsibility in this,” said Rev. Nicta Lubaale, general secretary of the Organization of African Instituted Churches said. The organization is working with 30,000 households, helping them produce the food they need.

In Kenya, Anglican archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit said the church had mobilised its congregations to assist especially those who do not have food and other basic needs.

“We have emphasised support for the weak, orphans, the suffering urban poor in our society—especially those who need food and other basic supplies,” said Sapit, while encouraging the congregations to continue providing support to the needy as part of preventing COVID-19.

Latansio said South Sudan’s hunger was so serious that civil servants were unable to feed their families since they were not receiving their salaries. Several political and military leaders have tested positive for COVID-19, meaning things are not moving politically, said the official, adding that fighting among rival groups was also killing and displacing the population.

“The picture of the impact of hunger pandemic is very painful. I cannot determine the exact number of the affected because everything vulnerable is affected,” said the Roman Catholic priest.

Humanitarian agencies are trying to respond in South Sudan, according to the cleric, but the organizations are worried their workers do not have proper protection.

On their part, the people are carrying out small scale farming—planting seeds and growing some basic food crops—amid the conflict and the disease.

“We believe with hope that there is still a good morning for South Sudan despite all the challenges and pain,” he added.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Council of Churches (WCC).

Related Content

Coronavirus – Nigeria: Donation of Personal Protective Equipment from ANPA for COVID-19 response in Nigeria

We are grateful to The Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) for the donation of personal protective equipment as support for the COVID-19 national response. We commend the efforts of public and private entities as we jointly take responsibility in the face of this pandemic.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).Media filesDownload logo

Ivory Coast’s 2020 growth seen sliding to 0.8% due to pandemic

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast’s gross domestic product growth is expected to slow to 0.8% in 2020 compared to a previous forecast...

Coronavirus – Somalia: Update on COVID-19 in Somalia (7th July 2020)

Download logoNew cases confirmed today: 9 Somaliland: 3 Jubbaland: 3 Puntland: 3 Male: 7 Female: 2 Recovery: 45 Death: 0 Total confirmed cases: 3,015 Total recoveries: 1,096 Total deaths: 92Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health & Human Services, Federal Republic of Somalia.

Madagascar receives USD 2.13 million from African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Limited Policy for Drought Response

The Government of Madagascar today received a symbolic cheque in the amount of USD 2,13 million from the African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd) to cover anticipated losses to livelihoods of its vulnerable population from the crop failure in the just concluded farming season. The ARC payout is the result of drought insurance taken by the country with the support of the African Development Bank (the Bank) through its flagship programme, Africa Disaster Risk Financing (ADRiFi) Pr

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Omnia delivers solid results from a stabilised business

South Africa's biggest fertilizer producer Omnia was profitable in the year to March after extensively restructuring its business units. Omnia CEO, Seelan Gobalsamy joins CNBC Africa to breakdown the results.

South Africa has bad record on keeping budget promises: Fitch

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa has a poor track record of implementing debt and spending reductions plans, ratings firm Fitch said on...

Africa’s top publisher to close South African publications, cut jobs

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African media and e-commerce group Naspers plans to lay off more than 500 employees and close a number...

Battles rages for control of the National Lottery

Ithuba says Hosken Conslidated Investment's constant legal attacks are an attempt to take back control of the National Lottery from a black business woman. Charmaine Mabuza, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ithuba joins CNBC Africa for more.

Partner Content

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Sanlam launches urgent job-preservation initiative in response to COVID-19

Sanlam Investments is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through large-scale support of the recovery of South African companies, from small enterprises to...

Trending Now

WHO acknowledges ‘evidence emerging’ of airborne spread of COVID-19

But in an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, published on Monday in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence that they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.

Zimbabwe’s health minister, accused of corruption, sacked: statement

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has sacked health minister Obadiah Moyo with immediate effect for inappropriate conduct, a statement from...

Senegal slave island, moved by George Floyd’s death, renames Europe Square

“But we also said to ourselves...that in another sense it is celebrating the persecutor,” he said. “What happened to George Floyd was the final straw.”

Ivory Coast’s 2020 growth seen sliding to 0.8% due to pandemic

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast’s gross domestic product growth is expected to slow to 0.8% in 2020 compared to a previous forecast...
- Advertisement -