In this photo of Monday, March 6, 2017, South Sudanese men carry food distributed by the World Food Programme in Leer County Southern Leich State in South Sudan. Famine was recently declared in parts of the country, particular, in the former Unity State, in late February.Leer County, Southern Leich State.(AP Photo)

South Sudan has canceled Independence Day celebrations for the second year running as it struggles to end a devastating civil war and economic crunch.

Information Minister, Michael Makuei announced late Friday that this year’s July 9 Independence Day party has been cancelled and the event would instead be observed as a public holiday.

In past five years, the war-torn East African nation organized lavish independence celebrations involving military parades and nationwide celebrations, but last year, the government called off public celebrations over lack of funds, and the July 9 was also mired by renewed violence in the capital, Juba.

Makuei said the celebration may turn costly for the government to handle and that the money meant for the event would be diverted to repatriate internally displaced people to their homes.

War-torn South Sudan depends on oil revenue for 98 percent of its budget, but production reduced significantly due to civil war that erupted in December 2013, causing most oilfields in the country’s oil-rich northern region to shut down, leading to fall in production to less than 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 350,000 bpd in 2011.

The east African nation is currently struggling with hyper inflation amid shortage of foreign reserves to support imports. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/