Animals displaced by conflict in S. Sudan might spread diseases: UN agency

January 2, 2015 10:32 am 

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 1 — The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Wednesday that as livestock owners have fled the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, millions of animals have been displaced, posing risk of spreading diseases.

As animals have been moved, diseases like East Coast Fever, foot-and-mouth disease and trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, have devastated cattle production and have threatened the food security and livelihoods of pastoral communities across the country, said the agency.

According to statistics from the UN agency, up to 95 percent of South Sudan's population depends on farming, fishing or herding to meet their food and income needs.

At present, farmers in the country have cut the amount of land they are planting by as much as 40 percent, and the prices of basic staple foods are as much as four times higher in the most conflict-affected areas.

FAO said it has been focusing on strengthening and decentralizing the cold chain system for livestock vaccines, expanding the community-based animal health network and vaccination program, and helping to re-establish local laboratories for livestock disease diagnosis.

Over the past year, the agency's humanitarian program in the country reached over 2.8 million people through a combination of crop production, fisheries and animal health interventions, including vaccinating over 1.6 million animals. (PNA/Xinhua)



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