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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.