South Sudan descended into war in 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup [File: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]

A record number of almost seven people in South Sudan – or more than 60 percent of its population – are facing severe hunger, according to a new report by the government and three United Nations agencies.

The warning on Friday came some nine months after a peace deal between warring sides ended a ruinous five-year civil conflict.

The report said close to two million people were near starvation, but stopped short of declaring a famine.

The worsening situation was attributed to food shortages exacerbated by delayed rainfall, an economic crisis and years of strain from a conflict that killed almost 400,000 people.

“Every year, hunger

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