UNICEF Short Of Funds To Assist Children In South Sudan

By Awan Achiek

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed on Tuesday that it is short of funds required to assist 4.5 million children amid worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

A new report released by the UN agency in Juba, ahead of the 10th independence anniversary of South Sudan says that hopes of a better life for these children have been dashed by intermittent violence and conflict, recurring floods, droughts and other extreme weather events fuelled by climate change and a deepening economic crisis.

It says that these conditions have led to extremely high food insecurity, and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The report notes that the 2018 revitalized peace agreement which has been partially implemented has failed to bring about any remedy to the challenges facing the country’s children and young people.

“The hope and optimism that children and families in South Sudan felt at the birth of their country in 2011 have slowly turned to desperation and hopelessness,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

Fore said that the childhood of many 10-year-old children in South Sudan has been beset by violence, crises and rights abuses.

UNICEF has so far only received one third of the 180 million U.S dollar appeal it requires to assist the most vulnerable children in 2021.

It notes that the humanitarian crisis could worsen in upcoming lean season amid aid cuts by donors for South Sudan.

 “The crisis will worsen as we enter the lean season with increased risk of flooding. Lives will be lost without urgent action,” it says.

UNICEF observes that an estimated 8.3 million people in South Sudan need humanitarian support, a much higher number than the levels seen during the 2013-2018 civil war, which ranged from 6.1 million to 7.5 million people.

South Sudan has one of the highest child mortality rate globally with 1 in 10 children not expected to reach their fifth birthday.

This year’s, integrated food security phase classification assessment estimates 1.4 million children to suffer from acute malnutrition, adding that more than 300,000 children are expected to suffer from the worst form of malnutrition and are at risk of dying if treatment is not provided.

“If we do not receive sufficient funding the reality for children and families is that no help will be coming,” said UNICEF South Sudan Deputy Representative Andrea Suley.

She noted that humanitarian organizations are responsible for almost all service delivery in South Sudan.

“Without an end to the pervasive violence and insecurity threatening families and hampering humanitarian access, and without adequate funding, health and nutrition centres will be closed, wells will not be fixed and the sound of the generators keeping the vaccine fridges cool will soon fade away,” said Suley.

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