On 9th July, South Sudan marked three years of independence, however for many it was a joyless occasion. Months of fighting together with floods and crop failure has led to what the UN Security Council has called the worst food crisis in the world.
It said that there is a "catastrophic food insecurity" in the country and is urging donor nations who pledged some £364m in aid to make good on their promise. UNICEF has also stated that some four million people could be affected and that 50,000 children may die of hunger.
More than a million people have been displaced by the conflict since the political dispute between South Sudan's president Salva Kirr and his deputy Riek Machar erupted into violence last December. Months of fighting have prevented farmers from planting or harvesting crops, causing food shortages nationwide. The onset of the rainy season has added to the problem, hindering displaced farmers from planting crops in time to harvest them in time.
The three states hit the worst are Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity State. According to John Kolff from the Dutch organization Cordaid, "The fighting mostly takes place in these three states and whole cities have been razed to the ground." Neighbouring states are also affected because of the refugees flooding across their borders.
In 2011, more than quarter of a million people died before the crisis was declared official.