News / Africa

Hunger Could Kill 50,000 South Sudanese Children This Year, UNICEF Warns

A woman stands with her daughter in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic at the camp for displaced people on the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.
A woman stands with her daughter in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic at the camp for displaced people on the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
Tens of thousands of South Sudanese under the age of five could die this year and nearly a quarter of a million children will suffer severe acute malnutrition unless food and medical aid are stepped up immediately, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned Friday.

"Many children in South Sudan already faced emergency levels of under-nutrition in the two and a half years since independence in 2011," UNICEF said in a statement.

"Now the on-going conflict has pushed them to the edge – unless treatment is scaled up immediately. Up to 50,000 children under the age of five are likely to die," UNICEF declared. 

UNICEF spokeswoman Doune Porter said children who have been forced from their homes by four months of fighting face the greatest risk of severe acute malnutrition. Many have already resorted to eating what UNICEF and other aid agencies call "famine foods" -- wild roots, bulbs, grasses and berries. The onset of the rainy season will only make things worse, Porter said.

"Diarrheal diseases are likely to increase. That makes children more vulnerable to malnutrition, because they are not absorbing what they are able to eat,” she said.
Unless treatment is scaled up immediately, up to 50,000 children under the age of five are likely to die.
The UN has reached more than 500,000 people with emergency food assistance, but officials estimate as many as 3.7 million people face severe food insecurity and need aid.

Porter said the on-going fighting has destroyed infrastructure around the country, including an estimated one-third of South Sudan's 336 malnutrition treatment centers.

"Health care services have been enormously disrupted by the conflict. Many families, many children have little - or in many cases - no access to health care services," she said.

UNICEF representative in South Sudan Jonathan Veitch warned that if the four-month-old conflict continues, farmers will miss the planting season and "we will see child malnutrition on a scale never before experienced here.”
 
A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.
x
A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.
A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.
Porter said UNICEF and its partners are sending emergency teams to some of the country’s more remote areas to try to pre-position food and provide treatment for malnutrition.

They have already reached three counties in the country’s northeast and will try to get to three more areas this month, she said, adding that it is unlikely they will be able to reach everyone.

Dr. Lul Riek, the international health coordinator at the South Sudan Ministry of Health, acknowledged that many health care facilities have been destroyed in the fighting and medical workers have fled. That means it "has become a big challenge" to provide care for the people, including South Sudan's children.

Riek said the only clear solution to the health and crises would be for both sides to immediately stop fighting.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mapiel-Dit from: juba
April 12, 2014 7:06 AM
Its absolutely absurdity for such a situation to repeat itself. I'm reminded of the bor tragedy in 1992 after the same riek revolution within revolution against his suppose people to rule had claims thousands of innocents lives and destruction of their livelihoods which resulted into a severe hunger.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More