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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid