South Sudan is no longer classified as being in famine, although 45,000 people in Jonglei and Unity states are expected to remain in famine-like conditions and the situation is still critical, a U.N.-backed food security report said on Wednesday.

An estimated 6 million people, half the population, are expected to be severely food insecure this month and next, up from 5.5 million in May, the report said.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report was based on a survey by a working group including government and U.N. officials.

The report said there was no longer famine in counties in the north of the country where it was declared in February. However, there were concerns about another region in the country’s east, bordering Ethiopia, that was once called Jonglei state.

South Sudan created new states this year and last year, splitting existing ones.

“The conflict-related displacement of over 200,000 people from northern, central, and eastern former Jonglei has severely disrupted livelihoods and access to social services, thus severely undermining food security in the state,” the report said.

Two years after emerging as an independent state, the oil-rich country was plunged into conflict in December 2013 as rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his then-vice president, Riek Machar, exploded into violence.

Since then, fighting has often taken place along ethnic lines.

The conflict has triggered Africa’s worst refugee crisis, with more than 3 million people fleeing their homes.

It has also prevented many farmers from planting and harvesting their crops. Hyperinflation, which reached more than 800 percent last year, has put the price of imported food beyond the reach of many.

“Even though no county has been classified under famine … this situation continues to be very critical,” Isaiah Chol Aruai, chairman of National Bureau of Statistics, said in Juba during the report’s release.

Source: National News Agency